Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jicama

Jicama
Jicama is a sweet root vegetable that looks like a turnip. Eaten raw jicama is often found in salads or cooked in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. It is also known as a yam bean and is grown in many parts of Central America, the Caribbean region and parts of Asia. Jicama is low in calories and a good source of dietary fiber. Its texture and fruity taste is similar to an apple.
Jicama is stored like potatoes, but after it is cut into sections, cubes or slices should be placed in refrigerator.
My first experience with jicama was in the kindergarten classroom.  As a result of grant funding program each afternoon students received a snack. On this particular day jicama was served with carrot sticks and a dip. I was quite surprised how much the children liked this vegetable and kept asking for seconds.
After this enthusiastic introduction I have found many recipes that use jicama especially in salads. 
It can be a bit tricky to cut one and here are some basic directions 

You don't really "peel" a jicama, the outer skin is just too tough. First, as always, wash the jicama under running water, rubbing the skin over as you do so.
With a sharp knife, trim a slice off the top and another off the bottom. These create a flat surface, making it a safe and sturdy vegetable to continue cutting. Work the knife around the jicama, cutting off wide swaths, first working from the top, then turning over and doing the other side. 

Jicama can be cut it into batons for a vegetable tray or grate it for coleslaw. It grates easily with a box grater, no need for a food processor except maybe for big batches. 

Strawberry Mango Salad
Cook's notes:recipe adapted from twopeasandtheir pod.com
This recipe is a simple side for a summer meal. The jicama provides a nice crunch to the salad.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup chopped mango or peaches
  • 1 cup cubed jicama
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 TB. fresh lime juice
Directions:
  • Mix fruit together
  • Combine lime juice and chopped cilantro
  • Drizzle over fruit
Creamy Jicama Salad

Cook's notes: I liked this salad because mixing jicama with yogurt felt like healthy eating :)
recipe from chobani.com
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup Chobani-non fat plain Greek yogurt (a favorite)
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp.sugar
  • 2 TB. fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 small jicama cut into match sticks
  • 5 scallions
  • 1/2 medium red pepper cut into strips
Directions:
  • Whisk all ingredients together except jicama, scallions and pepper strips
  • Add dressing toss to combine
  • Refrigerate till chilled




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