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A Unique Treat: Jicama

Posted by Lisa Peterson -

What is a Jicama?

Jicama, pronounced (Hee-Kah-Ma) is considered a tropical legume and Spanish for edible root. The jicama resembles a turnip with a light brown smooth exterior and a white flesh inside. This root tuber, also known as a Mexican turnip, Chinese potato, and yam bean, is native to Central America but occasionally grown in Hawaii, Florida, and Texas. Keep in mind, the stem, seeds, and leaves may be toxic. Only eat the root of this unique vegetable.

Is it Healthy?

A great way to stay hydrated all year round is consuming foods with high amounts of water such as fruits and vegetables. A jicama is made of 85 percent water, making it a great vegetable to eat in the summer during those hot summer days. Jicama is a marvelous low-calorie snack with 49 calories per cup. Not only is a jicama a wonderful source of water, but also a great source of vitamin C (43% of the recommended daily value per cup) and dietary fiber (24% of the recommended daily value per cup).

Selection & Storage: When searching the grocery store for jicama, it is typically found with the produce. Look for jicama that does not have cuts, bruises, cracks, mold, or discoloration. A fresh and crisp jicama weighs less than 4 pounds. A lighter jicama is less starchy and fibrous than one over 4 pounds. Ideally, a jicama is stored between 55-59°F in a dry place away from moisture. When kept at the ideal temperature a jicama can last up to 4 months. Otherwise, a jicama can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. After a jicama is cut, keep in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap for up to one week.

How Do I Eat a Jicama?

Want to add some extra crunch to a salad or some healthy fries? The flavor of a jicama is a cross between a water chestnut and an apple or a pear.

Ideas for Jicama

  • Stews
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Stir-Fry
  • Potato Substitute, feeling creative? Try mashed jicama!
  • Sushi Rolls-Slice thin and replace the cucumber with jicama
  • Add it to vegetable or fruit platter
  • Roasted-Cut jicama into cubes and toss with some olive oil and favorite herbs such as rosemary, garlic, chili powder, and cilantro. Roast at 400°F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Jicama pairs well with citrus. Try adding a splash of lemon, lime, or orange juice when adding jicama to a salad.

The average jicama yields 3 cups chopped per pound.

How to Cut Up a Jicama

Check out the recipe below for a fun summer salad with some extra jicama crunch! Make it a meal and serve it as a side with salmon and grilled asparagus.

Jicama Summer Salad

½ Jicama, peeled and diced

1 TBS. Lime Juice

3 cups strawberries, sliced

2.5 TBS. Honey

6 oz. blueberries

½ tsp. cinnamon

15 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained

  1. Mix together lime juice, honey, and cinnamon in a small bowl until well mixed
  2. In a large bowl, combine jicama, strawberries, blueberries, and mandarin oranges and drizzle with lime,honey, cinnamon combination. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator 3-4 days.

Nutrition Facts (6-1 cup servings): 120 calories, 5 calories from fat, 10 mg. sodium, 31 g. carbohydrates, 4 g. dietary fiber,   1 g. protein.

For more quick nutrition, physical activity, or wellness tips follow me on twitter! Looking for upcoming programs? Visit our local extension website at:http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cjmm/

Sources:

D'Sa, Elaine M. "Using & Preserving Jicama." (2007): National Center for Home Food Preservation. University of Georgia, Sept. 2004. May 2015. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/jicama.pdf

"Jicama." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. USDA, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3303?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=11603

"Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Jicama - Fruits & Veggies More Matters."Fruits Veggies More Matters. Better Health Foundation, 26 May 2015. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-jicama



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