Kitchen Corner: Jicama


Kitchen Corner: Jicama

Jicama is slowly and stealthily creeping up on the yam ready to steal its glory. But, are we ready to welcome it into our hearts?

A jicama! Excuse you.

Jicama seems to be cropping up in healthy foodie haunts all over the place. But, before we designate it the new health-food darling, we want to give you the full low-down. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into. That sounded sinister, didn’t it? Don’t worry, it isn’t… very.

First things first; it’s pronounced “HECK-ah-mah.” Not “Jick-AY-ma.” No embarrassing restaurant-ordering faux pas here. It’s also sometimes known as a yam-bean. (Pronounced “yam-bean”.)

Jicama is a legume grown in tropical and sub-tropical climates. This slightly confusing veggie produces beans on vines, but the edible part is actually the starchy root below the surface. The roots, or tubers, can be as big as a turnip, and are the only edible part of the plant. The vines bear pretty blue flowers and seeds that are actually poisonous if eaten. Okay, okay, jicama is a tiny bit sinister.

On to happier things! This root vegetable has a similar taste and texture to an apple crossed with a water chestnut, and can be eaten in sweet or savoury dishes. It should always be peeled before consuming.

The lovely white flesh inside can be chopped up as a crudité, dunked in almond butter, sprinkled with spices Mexican-style, thrown into slaws, roasted, or tossed in stir-fries.

Although not quite a superfood, this tasty little tuber is also exceptionally nutritionally gifted. It is high in fibre and antioxidants and is a good source of vitamin C. Jicama also provides inulin, a prebiotic that promotes good bacteria growth to maintain digestive and immune health. All this, and it’s low in calories, too: just 49 in an entire cup!

See? Even sinister-ish vegetable stories deserve happy endings.

Try jicama in one of these tasty recipes:

Black Bean and Jicama Salad

Carrot Apricot Dip

Golden Gazpacho


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