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       Volume I - April 23, 2010

What Is Jicama and How Can I Use It?
by Patty Liston

When my family and I lived in California, jicama found its way into various recipes. I loved the taste, and started using it more often myself. The following information is from Care2, one of my favorite web-sites. Be sure to try the recipe for jicama fries at the end of the article!

Care 2
Jicama, pronounced HEE-ka-ma, is native to Central America, where it is also known as Yam Bean or Mexican Turnip. The roots can weigh up to fifty pounds, though those on the market weigh between three to five pounds.

Jicama, a root vegetable, has a high water and low calorie content. According to The Nutrition Almanac by Gayla and John Kirschmann, it is high beta-carotene, B complex, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium. Its sweet flavour comes from the fructo-oligosaccharide also known as inulin. Jicama’s flavor is sweet, similar to water chestnut and many restaurants use it as a less expensive substitute.

Select firm jicama that is heavy for its size. Overly large, or shriveled jicama is likely to be woody and tough. Jicama can be stored whole, unwrapped in the refrigerator for several weeks. Storing it in plastic accelerates mold growth. Once cut, it is best to use it within a day or two.

Slice jicama like potato chips and use it for dips. Jicama can be juiced, grated into a salad, or grated to the size of rice and use it as a rice replacement. In Latin America, it is common to serve peeled jicama, with a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dash of salt.

Jicama Crunch Sticks
With a platter of these in hand, you’ll never miss French fries!

1 jicama, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional; not a raw product)
1 teaspoon chili powder of your choice
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt

Toss together all ingredients. Makes 2 serving


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