Silly Food Fact
So you bravely brought home an odd-looking vegetable—kind of like a potato-turnip combo. Now what do you do with this jicama?! First, make sure you know how to pronounce it: HEE-kah-mah (HIK-ah-mah is okay too). Jicama originated in Mexico and spread to the Philippines and then to Asia. It’s called by different names in each of these places, but the moist white flesh is the same. Dip a chunk in lime juice, sprinkle on a bit of salt, and you have a crunchy treat!
Still hungering for more information about Jicama? Check out this video:
Why Our Bodies Love It
Jicama, also known as yambean or Mexican turnip, is chock full of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels, aids digestive health, and regulates blood sugar. One cup of jicama has less than 50 calories and provides 40% of your daily vitamin C requirements. It’s also a good source of folic acid and potassium.
Care and Picking
As a root vegetable, the part of jicama you eat is buried in the ground until harvest time. The plant above has huge vines, up to 15’ long, producing blue and white flowers and flat pods. Never eat the pods or seeds inside: they contain toxins! It’s the tuberous roots that you want. Jicama needs a long growing season; if you live in a warm climate, try growing it! Jicama is naturally disease and pest-resistant. Just remember to provide stakes or a trellis, and pinch off the flowers when they first appear to promote strong tuber growth.
Tips and Warnings
The texture of jicama is similar to that of an apple, and the taste is mild, sweet, and starchy. When selecting, look for no bruises or large cracks. Size is doesn’t affect taste. Store jicama in a cool and dry place—ideally not in the refrigerator. Before eating, cut off the tough skin and use just the white flesh inside. Jicama is great raw in salads or to munch on like crackers; plus it won’t lose its crispness or white color. Cooked, jicama is a nice addition to stir-fry and soups.