Food – Jicama

What is a jicama [HEEK-ka-ma] known also as a Mexican potato or Mexican turnip? How do you eat it?

A jicama bulb can weigh anywhere from one to two pounds. It has a tough, brown outer skin but the flesh is white. Preparation is very easy. Simply peel off the outer skin and then it can be eaten, either cooked or raw—both ways are great—either sliced or diced. Basically, jicama is similar to a raw potato but moister and crunchier. Jicama can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

What is so good about a Jicama?

One cup of jicama, amounting to about 4.6 ounces, contains just 49 calories and virtually no fat. Jicamas are mostly carbohydrates—offering 11.47 grams per cup. Jicama is not a significant source of protein, with just 0.94 grams of protein per cup.

Jicama provides 6.4 grams of fiber per cup. This is about 16 percent of the 38 grams recommended daily for men and 25 percent of the 25 grams recommended daily for women by the Institute of Medicine. Fiber is important to digestive health, contributes to lower cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar, and aids in weight loss.

Other nutrients: A cup of jicama provides 40 percent of the daily value of vitamin C, notes Joanne Larsen, R.D., on Ask the Dietitian. It also provides about 16 percent of your daily folic acid needs. Jicama, per cup, is a moderately good source of potassium offering 195 milligrams—the same amount as you get in a peach, notes Potassium is important for fluid balance and blood pressure control.

Jicama can be diced, cut into slices for a vegetable tray or grated and added to coleslaw or salads. It can also be steamed or stir-fried.