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Top 5 Jicama Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Jicamas can be available year-round in the markets. Generally, they are imported from Central American countries through land routes and flood the USA markets during spring and summer.

Choose well-formed, firm, round, medium-sized tubers. Avoid soft, shriveled, or tubers with surface cuts, cracks, and bruised skin.

Once at home, jicamas can be stored much like potatoes. They have a good shelf life and keep well in a cool, dry, dark place for about 2-4 weeks. Exposure to a temperature below 10 °C results in chill-induced changes in
color and texture. Also, prolonged storage converts its starch into sugar, which makes the roots less sought-after in savory dishes.

Cut sections, cubes, or slices, however, should be placed inside the refrigerator.

Preparation and serving methods

Wash in cool running water and dry mop just like in other tubers. Peel off the thick fibrous skin using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Skin and other plant parts carry rotenone, an organic poison, and therefore, should be discarded. It then can be cut into cubes, sliced, or chopped into fine strips in the ways desired.

Fresh jicama is used much like a vegetable and is an important starch source in much of Central America. It stays crisp when cooked,
making it one of the wonderful vegetables in stir-fries.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Raw jicama has sweet, succulent apple like fruity taste. In many parts of Mexico, fresh tubers are cut into cubes/sticks and sprinkled with lime juice, salt, and dressed with olive oil and paprika or ground chili pepper and enjoyed!

  • Jicama is a favorite root vegetable in Mexican cooking where it is used in salads, slaw, stews, stir-fries, soups, etc.
    It mixes well with other common vegetables and fruits like orange, pineapple, carrot, green beans as well as with poultry, meat, and seafood.

  • Outside of the American continent, this tuber is among the popular starch roots in many south and southeast regions. In Malaysia, where it is known as bengkoang, fresh young tubers are sliced and eaten with other fruits like pineapple, apple,
    raw mango, sweet potato, etc, in rujak.

  • In Indonesia, they served with much like Malayan salad but with added rujak sauce made from palm sugar, tamarind, shrimp paste, chili peppers, and sautéed peanut
    paste. Also, as a rujak tumbuk, all the ingredients mentioned above are ground in a wooden mortar and served on a banana leaf.

  • In Eastern India states of West Bengal, Odisha, and Bangladesh, shankaalu is eaten as mouth-watering street food ‘chaat recipe’ paired with starfruit, chili and salt powder and lemon juice.

  • Apart from salads, another popular oriental dish that uses jicama and turnips is popiah, a Fujian/Chaozhou-style fresh spring roll.

Safety profile

Jicama plant contains significant levels of fat-soluble organic toxin, rotenone. This toxin is concentrated especially in the leaf tops, stems, and seed pods but at much lower concentrations in the roots. Several studies found that it is linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

However, peeled roots are safe for human consumption, including in children. Rotenone works at the cellular level inhibiting several metabolic enzymes like NADH dehydrogenase in the mitochondria. Outside, it is used as an environmentally safe broad-spectrum insecticide, piscicide (to poison fish), and pesticide. (Medical disclaimer).

≻≻-Back to Vegetables from Jicama nutrition. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and
health benefits.

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Further Resources:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.

  3. Norton, L. B. 1943. Rotenone in the yam bean (Pachyrrhizus erosus).

  4. Quantification of rotenone in seeds of different species of yam bean (Pachyrhizus sp.) by a SPE HPLC–UV method. PDF.

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