One of the reasons to try new vegetables you may or may not have noticed at the grocery story is to get out of the rut that mealtimes can bring over time. There’s an tan-colored, oval, root vegetable you maybe have seen at the store and not known what it is or how to pronounce its name. It’s called jicama (pronounced “hee-kah-mah”). Some may call it a yam bean or a Mexican water chestnut. It is part of the legume (bean) family. This is a tuber like a potato, but it is less starchy. However, the tough skin on a jicama needs to be peeled with a knife (not a vegetable peeler – the skin is too tough) because it contains a toxin (that is NOT found in the fleshy part of the tuber).
What does a jicama taste like?
A jicama is sweet like a pear or apple, but it is starchier. When eaten raw, it is quite crunchy, making it ideal for nut butters, hummus and other dips.
How do you chose a jicama?
Choose smaller jicamas because they are less fibrous. Choose ones with smooth skins because shriveled skin is a sign of an older tuber. They do not need to be refrigerated until they are cut open. If you find a jicama that is too large, ask the produce worker to cut into half or fourths.
How do you eat a jicama?
You can eat a jicama either raw or cooked, as you would eat an apple, pear, or kohlrabi. Some ideas for using it are:
How nutritious is jicama?
Jicama is low in calories (46 calories for one cup of sliced, raw jicama) and high in soluble dietary fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower your blood LDL levels and can normalize blood glucose levels. Jicama is also very high in vitamin C (40% of your daily needs). Vitamin C supports your immune system and provides powerful antioxidants to aid your body’s cells.
Mealtimes don’t need to be boring if you add new vegetables into the rotation. Drop us a comment and tell us about your adventures with vegetables you haven’t tried before, such as jicama, celeriac, or kohlrabi.
For a quick tutorial in how to prepare a jicama, click here.
~Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
You can find this root vegetable in most grocery stores from September through May (and some have it year-round). It ranges in size from the size of a baseball to much larger. Look for smaller ones, which are less fibrous. The flavor is different from celery, though similar. The texture is also different from that of celery.
Adding celeriac to your vegetable rotation will add essential vitamins and minerals that you may be missing in your diet that are needed for the proper functioning of your body. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day is crucial in order to get an assorted range of nutrients. A pill isn’t the same.
Try the delicious celeriac recipes below to add a new vegetable to your meal planning!
Note: You can usually ask an employee in the produce section to cut the celeriac in half, if needed, before buying it. And only take half, if you feel it is too large.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5136/celeriac-coleslaw and the Joy of Cooking
Celeriac and Pear Purée
Makes 4 (2/3 cup) Servings
Recipe adapted from
~Nancy Miller, MS, RDN
A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!