Craving something to snack on as you watch the NCAA basketball games this month? Instead of chips, reach for some Jicama sticks. It goes great with party dips like salsa, guacamole and hummus. Oh, and of course, it’s healthy too!
Jicama (HEE-ka-ma), also known as a Mexican potato or yam bean, is the edible tuber of a vine that is actually a member of the legume family. It has a mild, crispy, juicy, slightly starchy texture that is often described as a combination between an apple and a potato… or a water chestnut. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and is a real favorite in Mexico sprinkled with a bit of chile powder, lime and salt.
I love Jicama for its juicy, crisp, satisfying texture. One of the coolest things about this root is that it is really high in vitamin C — 40% of your RDA in one serving! And if you’re a health nut, Jicama is a good source of a special kind of fiber called inulin (no, not insulin). Inulin is being studied for its ability to make you feel full, and it’s also considered a “pre-biotic” – which is basically like a fertilizer for your digestive tract to help the good bacteria (the stuff in “pro-biotics”) flourish.
Jicama is primarily grown in Mexico and is pretty much available year-round because it stores well. Actually, the best way to keep a whole Jicama root is in a cool, dry place – similar to how you would store potatoes. Only put Jicama in the refrigerator after it is cut. (Moisture on the skin of whole Jicama makes them go slimy.)
Learn everything you need to know about Jicama by watching our fun 2-minute Specialty Produce 101 video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8MmsGPlvbc
And here are some great Jicama recipes: