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Healthy Jicama Fries

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus, P. tuberosus), pronounced HEE-ka-ma, is native to Central America, where it is also known as Yam Bean or Mexican Turnip. The genus name, Pachyrhizus is derived from the Greek and means “thick root.” The species names erosus means “jagged” and tuberosus, means “tuber.” Our name, jicama, comes from the Nahuatlan Indian xicama, which means “edible storage root.” Jicama is a member of the Fabaceae (Pea) Family, making it a relative of peanuts and beans. The jicama plant is a vine growing to a length of twenty or more feet. The roots can weigh up to fifty pounds, though those on the market weigh between three to five pounds.

Jicama, a root vegetable, has a high water and low calorie content. According to The Nutrition Almanac by Gayla and John Kirschmann, it is high beta-carotene, B complex, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium. Its sweet flavour comes from the fructo-oligosaccharide also known as inulin. Jicama’s flavor is sweet, similar to water chestnut and many restaurants use it as a less expensive substitute.

Select firm jicama that is heavy for its size. Overly large, or shriveled jicama is likely to be woody and tough. Jicama can be stored whole, unwrapped in the refrigerator for several weeks. Storing it in plastic accelerates mold growth. Once cut, it is best to use it within a day or two.

Slice jicama like potato chips and use it for dips. Jicama can be juiced, grated into a salad, or grated to the size of rice and use it as a rice replacement. In Latin America, it is common to serve peeled jicama, with a squeeze of lemon or lime and a dash of salt.

Jicama Crunch Sticks

With a platter of these in hand, you’ll never miss French fries!

1 jicama, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional; not a raw product)
1 teaspoon chili powder of your choice
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt

Toss together all ingredients.

Makes 2 servings.

What have you discovered about jicama?

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Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of 12 books, including Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at


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11:27AM PDT on Mar 20, 2013

Thank you.

8:49AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Idiscovered jicama on a trip to Mexico several years ago and immediately fell in love with it. For anyone who does not know it please read Eugenia's comment below (yup from 2010) - smart girl!

8:49AM PDT on Aug 20, 2012


9:44AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

Thank you

12:17AM PDT on Jul 6, 2011

I love Jicama salad. Thanks for sharing these great recipes.

7:24AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Thanks for the article.

1:46PM PDT on Sep 7, 2010

Yummers :3

5:17AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Looks and sounds great! thanks:)

1:33AM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

healthy+fries=ooo me like

12:45PM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

Im from San Diego, Ca and we eat jicama all the time. We just peel it, chop it and eat it. Very refreshing snack. My children love it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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