ingredient information
The jicama is a species of Pachyrhizus, a legume native to tropical and subtropical Central America. It is cultivated for its edible taproot. Other common names for the jicama include sengkwang, "yacon", "yam bean", Mexican potato and Mexican turnip. In the Philippines, it is referred to as singkamas. The jicama plant grows as a vine that can reach a height of 4-5 m given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kg. The root's exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles that of a raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy. It is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon juice, and powdered chile. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Notable raw jicama dishes include popiah and salads such as yusheng and rojak. In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jicama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish. Jicama is composed of 86-90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavor comes from the oligofructose inulin (also called fructo-oligosaccharide), which the human body does not metabolize; this makes the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters. The jicama grows in frost-free climates. Native to tropical America, it is currently cultivated in warmer parts of China and Southeast Asia as well. Jicama should be stored dry, between 12 °C to 16 °C; colder temperatures will damage the root. A fresh root stored at an appropriate temperature will keep for a month or two.