Jicama is a root vegetable grown in Mexico and Central America. There are many names for jicama including the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, ahipa, saa got, Chinese turnip, lo bok, and the Chinese potato. Jicama looks similar to a turnip or large radish but is a member of the bean, or legume, family. Jicama has a short root and contains white flesh. It is typically peeled before eating it raw. When used in cooking, Jicama tends to take on the flavors of the ingredients that it is being combined with. This makes jicama a nice complement to stir-fry dishes because it blends well with many vegetables and seasonings.
Jicama is an excellent source of vitamin C and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lessen asthma symptoms in children. It may also help reduce bleeding and bruising of skin and could lessen symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Jicama is available year round. When purchasing, look for heavy, dense roots and smooth skin. Avoid jicama that is shriveled, bruised, or blemished. Once purchased, store jicama for up to two weeks in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. To use, peel the skin and cut into cubes or strips. Served raw, it can be used in salads, slaws, or sushi. It can even be dipped into salsa as a healthy alternative to chips. Avoid eating the leaves or seeds, as they contain a mild toxin.
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