Looking for something easy to pack in your lunch that is also loaded with fiber? Jicama is a member of the potato family and it grows on a vine. Typically, jicama can be found in Mexico and throughout Central America. It is sold at most Mexican grocery stores in the United States. It is most known as “jicama” but is sometimes called “Mexican water chestnut” or “yam bean”.
Jicama can be peeled and eaten plain, chopped up and thrown in a salad, eaten in a soup or many other ways. It has the texture of an apple and a flavor similar to a water chestnut. They have a slight, sweet flavor which comes from the oligofructose inulin it is naturally infused with.
What is oligofructose inulin? It is a form of fiber in the Jicama loaded with health benefits. It is sometimes referred to as a prebiotic because it stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Also, it has a reduced GI (glycemic index) and will not cause glucose levels to rise or initiate insulin secretion.
What does this all mean? Jicama is a low calorie snack packed with potassium, vitamin C and fiber. It promotes a healthy GI tract, is safe for diabetics, and may help prevent cancer. Most everyone could benefit from adding jicama to their diet.
My favorite way to consume it is peeled, chopped into strips, and sprinkle with chile powder and lime juice (as pictured). It is also great when combined with mango, pineapple and even cucumber to make a tropical salsa that pairs well with salmon. Or, just simply cut some jicama and dip it in your favorite hummus.
- Jicama can weigh up to 50 pounds, but should be harvested at 5 pounds
- It is thought that jicama originated in the Andes Mountain region
- Small jicamas tend to be younger and sweeter. If you want a starchier taste, try one that is on the larger side
- The jicama should feel somewhat heavy compared to its size. If it feels light, it has probably been sitting out too long, and the moisture has evaporated
- When fresh, it has a high water content
- Make sure you scrub clean the skin before consuming, even though the skin is not edible
- Jicama tend to not discolor as quickly as apples do when cut, making it a great lunchbox item
- Jicama was consumed by the Aztecs, they called it “xicamatl “