JICAMA

jicama slicedCrisp and dense, almost chalky but sort of sweet with hints of earthiness; jicama is also known as Mexican Yam Bean.

jicamaIt is the root of a bean vine, which produces very lovely but poisonous flowers. The root is the only edible part of the plant. Even though I typically think of jicama as a spring and summer food because of its juicy and crisp qualities, it is actually traditionally harvested in Fall. Once harvested, if kept in the right environment it will last for several months, retaining its refreshing and juicy quality.

Jicama is native to Central and South America, although it has been cultivated in appropriate climates around the world. It is a funny looking root, very much resembling a turnip but larger and denser.
jicama limeJicama has a high water content, is a good source of fiber, with moderate carbohydrate content. It is a good source of Vitamin A and C. It is also a great source of inulin. Inulin is a belly friendly prebiotic and gastrointestinal balm so long as it is eaten in moderation.

From a culinary perspective jicama has a similar texture to water chestnut and can definitely be used in soups and stir fries. It seems to be most popularly enjoyed raw, cut into salads or even just eaten in slices topped with lime and chili. This is one reason I think of jicama as a spring or summer food, when the weather is warm jicama with a touch of lime and some chili is a delicious and refreshing treat.