Jicama, So Under-Used!
Marty Martindale

Jicama (“Hick-a-muh”) is an overlooked treat. One easy way to enjoy it is to peel it, chop it into sticks and serve sprinkled with fresh lime juice and your favorite chili powder. We are grateful to Frieda’s, The Specialty Produce People for the following food facts and two recipes:

Also known as a Yam Bean or Mexican Potato, Jicama is the edible root of a vine that is actually a member of the Legume (bean) family. This bean is downright ugly with its dusty-beige scabby skin and turnip-like shape. It ranges in size from a few ounces to up to six pounds, with the majority weighing between 2 and 4 pounds.

Once you remove its fibrous brown skin with a paring knife, you’ll find a lovely creamy-white interior with a juicy, crisp texture and deliciously refreshing, slightly sweet taste that is often compared to a combination of potato and apple. Jicama is being discovered as a dieter’s top veggie thanks to its low-calorie content and excellent, satisfying texture. It’s also gluten-free (great for those with celiac disease), and a good source of vitamin C.

Use Jicama in place of water chestnuts in stir-fries, or steam, boil, mash or fry it like a potato. One of the most popular Jicama applications in the U.S. is in refreshing slaws and fresh salads. Simply grate or julienne and combine with citrus or vinegar and spices such as cilantro and chili powder.

When selecting Jicama at your supermarket, avoid those that are wet, slimy or have soft spots. Jicama should be kept cool and dry, but never damp or sprayed with water. Once home, keep your jicama in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator), such as a pantry where you store potatoes and onions. Once cut, refrigerate and use within a few days.

Here are a few a simple Jicama recipes to try:

Jicama, Orange and Onion Salad
2 fresh oranges, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
4 thin slices red onion, separated
1 cup Frieda’s Jicama, peeled and julienne-sliced
Cilantro-Orange Dressing

Cut orange slices into quarters; toss with onion Jicama and Cilantro-Orange Dressing. Let chill for 1 hour or more to blend flavors. Makes 4 side-dish salads.

Cilantro-Orange Dressing:
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Frieda’s Cilantro, finely chopped
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili powder

Shake together all ingredients in a shaker jar; toss with salad. Makes 1/2 cup dressing.

Source: Frieda’s Inc.

Jicama-Carrot Salad
This salad is a refreshing cross between traditional Waldorf salad and carrot-raisin salad.

2 cups peeled, cubed Jicama
2 carrots shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. raisins
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Lettuce leaves

In a salad bowl toss together the Jicama, shredded carrots, celery, drained pineapple, walnuts, and raisins. Stir together the mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice. Spoon dressing over salad, tossing to coat well. Chill till serving time. Serve on a lettuce-lined platter. Makes 5 servings.

Source: Frieda’s Inc.


Marty Martindale

About Marty Martindale

Foodsite Magazine and Marty aim to help the cooking-challenged avoid dependence on others due to lack of cooking knowhow. We concentrate on quick breakfasts, portable lunches and “good-4-u” night meals. With readily available web translation, the magazine explains separate foods, a little of their history, their nutrition, suggested “go-withs,” serving ideas and links to foodsites with recipes.

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