Jicama (Pachyrrhizus erosus)

Botanical Name:Pachyrrhizus erosus
Familia: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Pinduan: Magnoliopsida
Orden: Fabales
Genus: Pachyrhizus
Species: P. erosus

Also known as:
Mexican turnip, Mexican yam bean, potato bean , yam bean
Other names for this Asian vegetable…
China:  dou shu, dou su, sha ge, di gwa, fan ko, lian shu, sa got, sha kot
India:  sankalu (In Bengali :Sankalu)
Indonesia:  bangkoe wang, beng kooway, bengko wang, benkuan, besusu, huwihiris, seng kooang
Japan:  kuzu imo
Laos:  man pau
Malaysia:  beng kuwong, kacang sengkuang, sengkwang, singkong, ubi sengkuang
Philippines:  bunga, frijolnme, kamas, singkamas, sinkamas
Sri Lanka:  yam bean
Thailand:  hua pae kkua, man kaeo, man laao, manngaw
Vietnam:  cu dau, cu san
Common Names: Jicama, Mexican Potato, Yam Bean Jicama (pronounced “hecama”) is also known as yam bean and Mexican turnip. It is not related to the true yam. The name “jicama” is almost always used in Spanish for any edible root. It is a climbing legume with very long and large tuberous roots, which in 5 months of growth may reach 6-8 feet long and weigh 50 pounds or more. More often, roots are round and beet-shaped with a distinctive taproot.

It is known as Sankalu  in Bengal

Habitat:Native in Maxico. but now grows in most of Asiatic countries and many  other places of the world.

Description:
It is a crepary annual plant. mainly grown in tropical countries.The plant grown from square brownish seedsIt takes 5 to 9 months to for it’s root (tubers) to be readfy to harvest. If left un harvested  the tubes can grow 6 feet long and may weigh 50 pounds even.

Click to see

Fruit on the root

Above the ground the plant grows as a broad -leafed vine of about 20 to 30 ft. long. depending on variety.It blossoms with light purple or white flowers which will produce fuzzy beans. The flowers are often removed to make larger tuber.

Also known as yam bean, this crunchy white fleshed tuber is a popular substitute for water chestnuts or bamboo shoots in any dish that calls for a mild flavor and crisp texture. The heart-shaped tuber grows to about 6″x6″ and has light brown skin. Jicama needs a lot of heat and a long growing season. Tubers develop after flowering. Ripe pods and leaves are poisonous. Jicama, which stores very well, is delicious in a marinated salad or stir-fry.
Growing Info:
Jicama is a tropical plant and thus requires at least 9 months of warm growing season for good sized roots to mature. However, if soil is rich, light and there is at least 4 months of warm weather available, the resulting roots will be smaller, but still quite delicious.
– Presoak seeds in water for about 24 hours before planting. Can be started indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost.
– Transplant into your garden as soon is weather is warm, but be careful where you plant it as the ripe pods, leaves and seeds are toxic and narcotic. Care should be taken so that no humans or animals will mistakenly eat these parts.
– The immature seed pods are edible as well as of course the turnip like roots for which it is grown. Can be grown near a trellis for support or like pole beans. Can also be grown on the ground but then requires a lot of space.
– When they grow to about 3 feet tall, pinch the tips to promote horizontal branches. Tubers form as the days grow shorter and should be harvested before the first frost.
– If you allow the plants to go to seed, the root lobes will be small. Blossoms appear in late summer, but can be pinched out for maximum root growth.

Uses:
This is an unusual vegetable that is becoming increasingly popular with American cooks, but has been grown in its native Mexico for centuries. More and more U.S. supermarkets are now carrying this turnip shaped, usually four lobed root. Its skin is a brownish gray, but its flesh is white and crisp. It’s flavor resembles that of water chestnuts but is sweeter. Makes a great appetizer and is a very good addition in both taste and texture when added to salads.

Jicamas are actually perennials and produce their large roots after several years of growth. They are commonly found in frost free regions. In Texas, seed can be planted in the early spring and small tubers harvested before the first killing frost of the winter.

Culinary Uses

Jicama is most commonly eaten in the fresh form. After peeling to remove the brown fibrous outer tissue, the crisp white fleshy portion can be sliced, diced, or cut into strips for use as a garnish, in salads, or with dips. It is frequently served as a snack sprinkled with lime or lemon juice and a dash of chili powder. Jicama remains crisp after boiling and serves as a textural substitute for water chestnuts. Jicama is similar to white potatoes in food value, but with slightly lower total food energy (calories). In the tropical production areas, the immature pods are sometimes cooked and eaten, but mature pods are said to be toxic. Mature seeds contain a fairly high content of rotenone, and at one time, commercial culture of jicama was considered as a source of this insecticide.

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Health benefits of Jicama:

*Jicama is one of the very low calorie root vegetables; carrying only 35 calories per 100 g. However, its high quality phyto-nutrition profile comprises of dietary fiber, and anti-oxidants, in addition to small proportions of minerals, and vitamins.

*It is one of the finest sources of dietary fiber; particularly excellent source of oligofructose inulin, a soluble dietary fiber. The root pulp provides 4.9 mg or 13% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie sweet inert carbohydrate. It does not metabolize inside the human body, which make the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters.

*As in turnips, fresh yam bean tubers are also rich in vitamin C; provide about 20.2 mg or 34% of DRA of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant that helps body scavenge harmful free radicals, thereby offers protection from cancers, inflammation and viral cough and cold.

*It also contains small levels of some of valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin.

*Further, the root provides healthy amounts of some important minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.

Click & see :What Is Jicama (Yambean) Good For?

Click to see nutritional value of Jicama :

Availability: Jicamas are offered in Texas supermarkets but are more popular in deep South Texas. Most of those on the market are imported from Mexico and South America

Resources:
http://electrocomm.tripod.com/jicama.html
http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/jicama
http://pam.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singkamas
http://www.kitazawaseed.com/seed_222-43.html

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