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Also known as the 'Earth Apple' this is one of the ancient crops of the Inca's. This relative of the sunflower is popular to the people of Columbia, Ecuador and Argentina. The plant produces large tubers similar in appearance to sweet potatoes, but they have a much sweeter taste and crunchy flesh. The tubers can be eaten raw as a refreshing treat on their own, finely sliced and mixed into salads,boiled or baked, fried as chips or prepared as a pickle. There is also commercial interest as a flavouring for yoghurt. They are sweet, juicy and almost calorie free. The main stem can also be used like celery. The texture and flavour have been described as a cross between a fresh apple and watermelon. The plants are vigorous, herbaceous, perennial and extremely hardy tolerating hot summers, drought and poor soils. The foliage of the plant dies back in the winter after flowering at which time the tubers are harvested carefully to avoid damage to the tubers. They tend to continue sweetening if left in a cool dry and dark place for a week or two before consumption. The offsets are then replanted for the next season.