07/21/2010 6 Comments
So what is Jicama?
Jicama is the edible starchy, tuberous root of a South American vine of the morning glory family, and is sometimes called a Mexican potato or yambean. It is similar in nutrition to the sweet potato with good con-centrations of vitamin C and potassium, low in sodium, and has fewer calories and carbohydrates that the sweet potato. It’s a good source of fiber. Remember arrowroot? Arrowroot is a common cooking thickening agent – and is made from jicama. Jicama is 85% water and is a great substitute for water chestnuts.
Nutrition for 1 cup of raw Jicama:
Jicama resembles a turnip or a large radish, and it can be used as an alternative to the water chestnut as mentioned. Its skin is quite thin and can be gray, tan, or brown in color. Look for nice light tan Jicama with minimal spots. It has a short root and has pretty white flesh. If you decide to eat it raw, peel it with a vegetable peeler and enjoy it. It has a sweet subtle taste much like an apple or pear. It does not discolor when you expose it to air like some other vegetables or cook it and it takes on flavors beautifully.
Jicama is a great snack alternative, is excellent in salads, side dish, stir-fry or Thai dishes.
Look out for some interesting recipes coming up in the next few posts involving tasty Jicama. What is your favorite recipe with Jicama? Send us your favorite and get a chance to guest post on Nutty Kitchen. :-)
A little Jicama History
Jicama is a relative of the potato family. It is the cousin of the sweet potato. Jicama is a name derived from Nahuatl xicama or xicamatl, a name the Aztecs gave to several varieties of edible roots. It is a popular dietary staple in Latin America and widely grown in Mexico and Central America. Native Americans used the crushed seeds of the Jicama plant as a fish poison. The crushed seeds were cast over the surface of a lake or river, the stunned fish would rise to the surface and were easily caught. The fish poison produced in the seed is the insecticide rotenone. Amazing stuff!