Tuesday, July 1, 2008

FastGirls Feature Food: Jicama

The root vegetable Jicama (pronounced “HEE-ka-ma”) has a flavor similar to that of water chestnut. Jicama is rich n beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron and potassium.

Select jicama that is firm and heavy for its size. Overly large or shriveled jicama is likely to be woody and tough. Jicama can be stored whole and unwrapped in the refrigerator for several weeks but storing it in plastic accelerates mold growth. Once it is cut it is best to use within a day or two. It can be used in salads or peeled, sliced and served with dips. In Latin America it is common to serve jicama with a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dash of salt. Jicama can be juiced, grated into salador grated to the size of rice grains and used as a rice replacement.

To peel jicama, cut in half and use the edge of a regular spoon to ply under the skin which will peel right off (figure I). Jicama has a papery-thin skin, and using a spoon will prevent you from tearing it. When the jicama is peeled, place it in a little lemon juice and water to maintain the color, texture and taste. It will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days until you're ready to use it. (You can apply the same technique to gingerroot.)

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