If I had to pick just one good habit to develop, it’d be to eat veggies daily. Vegetables are slimming; they fill us up so we feel satisfied; they help our digestion; I believe they even make us more attractive via their nutrient-packed goodness. So much to love.
Of all the veggies I’ve grown to love, jicama is by far my favorite. I almost don’t want to write a glowing review of jicama because it might contribute somehow to a jicama shortage. Ahhh, but I also want to be helpful, so I’ll sing jicama’s praises anyway.
I discovered jicama quite accidentally through my daughter, Stella. When she was younger, we played a fun grocery shopping game: I told her she could pick any fresh fruit or vegetable in the store and I’d figure out a way to serve it. Naturally, she loved to pick the oddest looking things. She picked fresh fennel because she said it looked like a tree. Who doesn’t want fresh tree for dinner?
One day, she spied jicama and was immediately drawn to it because, well, it’s incredibly ugly on the outside. It’s a tuber, meaning it’s a root vegetable, so I guess that’s understandable.
On the inside, it’s a totally different story. Jicama pairs delightful crispness with subtle sweetness. I imagine it as a cross between an apple and celery. Some compare it to watercress or a slightly sweet radish.
Nutritionally, jicama is amazingly versatile. I really love its carbohydrate profile. It’s slightly sweet, yet has only about 11 grams of carbs per cup. And 6 grams of that is fiber, so it’s an awesome source of fiber and also provides a decent amount of vitamin C.
There are many ways to eat jicama, and since it’s native to Latin America, it’s often featured in recipes with a Latin flare. I usually keep it simple, however, as I am a work in progress—sometimes I have grand plans but run out of time or steam. Most of the time, I simply chop jicama into sticks and eat it raw; if I’m really pressed for time, I buy prepared sticks. Its mild flavor does lend to experimentation (translation: it’s hard to screw up, if you’re a fumbling foodie like me, so don’t feel intimidated to try new things). I threw it once into an asian-style stir fry and was pleasantly surprised at its contribution. I’ve also used it as a substitute for grapes in a chicken salad. Its often served in chopped fresh salads and I understand it’s really good roasted, though I haven’t tried that one yet.
If you’re not a jicama lover already, I hope you’ll give it a try.