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What Are the Benefits of Jicama?

Jicama is a root vegetable shaped much like a turnip and comes from Mexico and Central America. Jicama is related to the sweet potato but looks more like a water chestnut in color and flavor; it has a thin brown skin that covers a white flesh. In fact, many Oriental restaurants substitute jicama for water chestnuts because jicama is less expensive. Jicama tastes somewhat like an apple, but when eaten alone, it is actually somewhat bland. This, however, is a positive quality of jicama, because it will take on the flavor of whatever you dip or cook it in, making it a very versatile food.

Jicama is low calorie, low fat, and high fiber food. It has a high water content, about 90 percent, but one cup of jicama still provides more than six grams of fiber! In addition, jicama has calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and beta carotene, and all for about 50 calories per cup! Jicama is also a great source of the trace mineral molybednum. Jicama is a great food for helping prevent and cure the common cold due to its high vitamin C content.

Jicama is a great weight loss and diabetic friendly food due to its low sugar, low carbohydrate, high fiber, high water, and high nutrient content. Many use jicama as a healthy alternative to a baked potato.

Choose jicama that is firm and heavy for its size. If it is shriveled or soft it's likely to be tough and to contain less water. The younger and smaller the jicama, the sweeter and more mild the taste. Whole jicama can be kept in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks and will store for up to three weeks when refrigerated. If not properly stored, jicama can quickly mold, so if you don't use the whole jicama at once, cut it up into slices or cubes and store covered with water in an airtight container—to retain its crispiness—for up to three days in the fridge.

Jicama Salad Recipe

  • 1 large jicama (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, then julienned or cubed (easiest to work with if you cut the jicama in half first)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, seeded, chopped
  • 1 navel orange, peel cut away, sliced crosswise, then each round quartered
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Salt

Optional

  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Get the directions at SimplyRecipes.com

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