Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on August 08, 2022
3 min read
Jicama is a root vegetable with thick, brown skin. It's white inside and tastes like an apple but not as sweet. It’s a bit like a potato but with a lot fewer carbs.
The jicama plant grows mostly in Mexico and Central America on a long vine. But the part you eat is the root.
On the outside, the jicama looks like a light brown beet. Inside, it looks and feels like a raw potato. But it doesn't taste like one. It's crisp and slightly sweet, like an apple. But jicama doesn't brown like an apple after you cut it.
These bad boys can grow up to 50 pounds! But don't worry about heaving one into your car at the farmer's market. The small ones are the best to eat.
Jicama is pronounced HEE-kuh-muh or HIH-kuh-muh, and goes by many other names, including:
● Chinese potato
● Mexican potato
● Mexican yam
● Mexican yam bean
● Mexican water chestnut
● Mexican turnip
● Leafcup
One medium-sized jicama has:
● 250 calories
● 32 grams of fiber
● 12 grams of sugar
● 4 grams of protein
● 15%-19% of your daily recommended vitamin C
Tater twin. People often compare jicama to potatoes because their flesh is similar. But jicama is much healthier and has far fewer carbohydrates.
Fun way to get fiber. Instead of an apple, peel and slice a jicama and dip it in a nut butter. It's a fiber-packed snack that prevents constipation, lowers cholesterol, and lowers your chances of getting colon cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin C. This vitamin gives a big boost to the immune system -- your body's defense against germs. It's also good for your eyes and skin. And it lessens inflammation in your body, which can cause arthritis and other diseases.
Vitamin B-6. Jicama has this key vitamin, which supports your brain and nerves, forms red blood cells, and turns protein into energy.
Antioxidants. Jicama has several of these compounds, which help prevent cell damage. Getting enough antioxidants from food has been linked with lower risk of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and cognitive decline.
Boosts heart health. Jicama has dietary fiber, which may lower cholesterol levels.
Prebiotic. Jicama is rich in a type of prebiotic fiber that helps restore the good bacteria in your gut.
Helps with hydration. Jicama is 85% water. Use it to help you stay hydrated, especially when it's hot outside.
Safe for blood sugar. If you're watching your blood sugar and insulin, jicama is a safe snack. It has carbs, but they have a low glycemic load, which means the carbs don't affect your blood sugar very much.
Only the flesh of the root vegetable itself is safe to eat. Jicama’s skin, stem, leaves, and seeds are poisonous.
● Choose a jicama that's small, heavy, and firm and has smooth skin.
● Wash it well and cut off any roots.
● Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin completely, including the paper-like layer underneath.
● After you peel it, cut it in half to make it easier to manage. Then cut it into cubes, sticks, or slices, or you can shred it.
Most people eat jicama raw with salt, lemon or lime juice, and chili powder sprinkled on top. You can also:
● Pickle it.
● Make a slaw out of it.
● Use it to add crunch and extra vitamins to salads.
● Serve it like cucumber on vegetable platters or with sushi.
● Add it to stews, soups, or stir-fries.
● Cook and mash it like a potato.
● Cut it into long strips, toss with oil, and fry it.
Keep whole, unpeeled jicama dry and unwrapped in a cool area for 2 to 3 weeks. Once you cut it, wrap up your jicama tightly and store it in the refrigerator for a week.