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Try jicama for a satisfying low-calorie snack


jicama cut in halfJicama is something you may have overlooked in the produce section because you didn’t know what it was or what to do with it. Next time, you’ll want to be sure to pick one up. They make a nice crunchy addition to a fresh salad or can be enjoyed just eaten raw.


“Jicama is a root vegetable that looks a lot like a turnip with flattened ends,” said Tammy Roberts, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension. It’s thin skin is brown and the flesh looks like that of a potato. “Unlike the potato, the skin of jicama is inedible so it must be peeled,” adds Roberts.


When purchasing jicama, Roberts says to look for one that is firm, heavy for its size and has a thin skin with no bruises, wrinkles or cracks. Jicama should be stored, just as you would a potato, in a cool dry place. Too much moisture can promote the growth of mold. In the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, jicama will keep for two to three weeks. Once it is peeled and cut, jicama will last about a week in the refrigerator.


One-half cup of jicama has only 23 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrate and a whopping 3 grams of fiber. Dieters often enjoy jicama as a snack because the high fiber helps you feel full.


Suggestions for eating jicama include:

  • Peel and eat raw — it will taste similar to a water chestnut. It is also juicy and crunchy like a water chestnut.
  • Peel and cut it into julienne strips, then sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice. Or, sprinkle it with chili powder after the lemon or lime juice.
  • Cook and add to soups, stews or stir-fried dishes. It remains crisp after cooking and is often used as a substitute in recipes for water chestnuts or bamboo shoots.


“Next time you are in the produce section don’t pass that jicama by,” said Roberts, “It can add a lot of interest and fiber to your next salad or snack.”


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Last update: Tuesday, April 29, 2014