How to Grow Earth Apple
Plant Type: Rhizomatous Perennial Herb
Harvest Season: Roots should be harvested in late Fall - early Winter.
Mature Size: About 3 ft. tall and wide.
Soil & Moisture: Rich, moist, well-draining soil.
Exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
Zone Hardiness: 7-9 can be grown as an Annual Zones 4+
History & Traditional Use
Traditionally, Yacon was grown by farmers in the Andes as a nourishment crop for when they were working in the fields. Yacon easily grew in these areas, and they would utilize the sweet and succulent tubers to refresh themselves while taking a break from work. However, recent research is starting to indicate that Yacon is also a powerful anti-hyperglycemic, and naturally regulates blood sugar levels. This is due to the presence of fructooligosaccharides, which are a type of naturally occurring compounds called fructans. Fructans are made of a sugar called fructose and help the tuberous roots of Yacon from drying out. These so called fructooligosaccharides are found in other plants, but Yacon produces more FOS than any other plant!
Recent research is showing that FOS has several beneficial effects that cascade from its role in the gastro-intestinal system. FOS creates helpful probiotic bacteria in the gut and colon. FOS also helps in reducing glucose levels- a risk factor for diabetes. In the Andes region where Yacon is grown, it has long been recognized that the plant is an effective herbal remedy for the treatment of diabetes. It is important to note that one of the main plant constituents that contribute to the unique flavor of Purple Earth Apple is the compound Inulin. This compound is found in other plants, such as Elecampane, and is also partially responsible for the medicinal effects of the plant.