What is Jicama?

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Also called yam bean, Jicama is a taproot vegetable that is fleshy and round. This plant is grown in various parts of South Asia, Central America, Andean South America, and Caribbean. The white starchy root of Jicama can be eaten as it is or cooked in different types of dishes.

This vegetable is also known as Mexican turnip, yacon, Mexican water chestnut, and sengkwang. It grows in tropical and semitropical climates, and grows similarly with lima beans or other types of beans. The skin of Jicama is thick and brown in color, and cannot be eaten unlike starchy root vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. Each Jicama tuber is around 250 to 1200 grams in weight, and has a sweet starchy taste.

There are five varieties of Jicama plant, but only three of these are popularly used. These include Andean yam bean (Pachyuhizus ahipa), Mexican yam bean (Pachyrhizus erosus), and Amazonian yam bean (Pachyrhizus tuberosus).

Jicama has a very low calorie content of around 35 calories for every 100 grams. This vegetable also contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. It can be considered as a great source of oligofructose inulin, which is a soluble fiber. This substance is a carbohydrate that has no calories and does not metabolize within the body. Because of this, it can be considered as safe for people with diabetes and those who watch their diet.

Just like turnips, fresh Jicama tubers have high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect the body from inflammation, different types of cancer, as well as cough and colds caused by viruses. In addition, Jicama also has small amounts of vitamin B-complex, such as riboflavin, thiamin, folates, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid. Aside from these vitamins, the root of Jicama can provide significant levels of minerals, including copper, magnesium, and iron.

The Jicama plant has a great shelf life and can be stored the same way that potatoes are stored. It can last for around 2 to 4 weeks as long as it is kept in a dry and cool place.

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