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As a tuber with a thin brown skin, jicama is considered the Mexican potato, but looks a bit more like an extremely large turnip, ranging in weight from one to six pounds (.5-2.5 kg). Less starchy with fewer calories, it’s a nice change from potatoes as it has a wonderful white crunchy flesh and a light nutty-sweet flavour. this nutty-sweet tuber originated with a thin brown skin and white crunchy flesh.
HOW TO CHOOSE
Jícama is easiest to find between December and June.
Choose small to midsize, well-shaped tubers, and make sure their skin is light brown, smooth, and unblemished. As with other tubers, weigh a firm jícama in your hand – a good one will feel heavy for its size. You just might pick one as moist and crisp as an apple. In contrast, larger ones will be drier, and very large jícama can be quite fibrous.
Again, plan to use this vegetable within days of bringing it home. Store it in a cool, dry place; too much moisture will cause mould and turn it slimy. On the other hand, it shrivels and grows mouldy in the cupboard. It’d be best not to keep it chilled for more than two or three days at most.
Wash and peel just before using, as the flesh darkens when exposed to air. Peel and chop, slice, dice, grate, or cube.
If peeled well ahead of time, submerge it in cold water with a little lemon juice to keep it from discolouring.
Just like a potato, it can be boiled or mashed. Unique to the jícama, however, is that it is often eaten raw as well as cooked. Similar in flavour and texture to water chestnut, in Asia and the South Pacific it is a popular addition to everything from stir-fries, soups, stews, entrees, and its sweet flavour and crunchy texture is equally at home in a fruit salad.
For instance, you can add sliced or grated jicama to salads, or cut it in cubes and serve it with a squeeze of lime juice and a dusting of chili powder. It is a very good substitute for water chestnuts in stir-fry dishes.
When baked it is a low calorie, high fibre food that may offer significant protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
This vegetable contains a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals, and newly identified blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines.
Jicama (raw, sliced), 1 cup (100g)
Total Fat: 0.11g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (24mg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
In Mexico, jicama is sold on street corners and at beach foodstands along with melons and other snack food. In their restaurants, this delicious vegetable may be offered cut in neat shapes and sprinkled with lime juice and chili powder. Delicious!