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Yam Bean

General Preface
It looks like a turnip, tastes like an apple or a water chestnut and is delightfully crunchy even when eaten raw. Surprisingly, after being endowed with such amazing qualities Yam Bean has been known anonymously in many parts of the world. Its not that we don't eat it but even if we have tasted it in popularly served salads or other cuisines it goes unnoticed and this is what adds to the tragedy of Yam Bean which instead of being popular is still unknown to many.

Native to Central America, Yam Bean is an indispensable ingredient of Mexican cuisine.

Scientifically known as Jicama, Yam Bean is a vine which belongs to Pachyrhizus genus family. It is

one of the very important part of the leguminous plant family known for its multipurpose benefits. A native to Central America this climbing vine was launched in south-east Asia by Philippines.

Mainly cultivated for its tuberous and turnip like roots this plant is highly adaptable crop. Stuffed with numerous essential nutrients these edible tubers are generally round in shape with a diameter of around 10-15cm. Their brown skin and white flesh makes them a ready to eat crunchy and munchy salad. To add to its eating benefits it can be cooked in various ways without losing its essential nutrients.

 

Tracing the Roots
Lets go back into history to trace the origin of this tuberous plant. Its roots seem to have been stably enthrust in the tropical regions of Western Hemisphere and appear to be as old as the American civilizations. Archaeologically it has been proved that the jicama was grown and utilized by all the major Meso American civilizations, which include the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec.

later on the Spanish introduced it to the Philippines in the sixteenth century and in this way the cultivation began in Southeast Asia, the Far East (including China), and the islands of the Pacific.

The credit goes to the highly adaptive nature of this plant which has firmly grounded itself in the infertile, dry and less qualitative soil as well. It seems that Yam Bean has been endowed with substantial powers of generation and it does not need extra fertilizers or good quality soil and to add on further it even has a protective layer of its own which protects it from dangerous pests and diseases.

Similar to potato, Yam Bean is a tuber rich in proteins and other nutrients in sufficient quantities. Being a dedicated legume it rejuvenates the soil with its great contribution as a nitrogen fixer so much so that it can help in getting the soil as much as 54 tons of usable nitrogen per acre and that too just in one season's crop.

Interestingly it has been discovered that other than serving as an eatable Yam Bean has other unlimited uses which have always existed in the traditional societies.

  • Serves as an aid to lactation in nursing mothers, as a digestive and antipyreticremedial in respiratory and urinary tract ailments.
  • Anti itching ointments and also against mange and many other medicinal uses.
 

Special Benefits

  • Yam beans are capable of maintaining their freshness without being refrigerated
  • The seeds produce their own insecticide
  • Fertilization of soil
  • Prevention of soil erosion
  • Higher medicinal value
  • Great nutrient content
  • use of leaves as fodder.
 

Various Ways in Which Yam Bean is Consumed
Yam Bean is deliciously devoured as raw salad, however there is a whole lot of opportunity to explore and exploit the various methods which can enhance the edibility of Yam Bean. Flour, juice, soups, tortillas followed by many more varieties can expand your cuisine list. You can cook, toast soak, fry,pickle, ferment and what not, infact you can experiment with this vegetable cum fruit cum salad in any which ways that come to your mind. And surprisingly you will always come up with astonishing new recipes. A stewed vegetable, a preserved sweet or a spicy pickle Yam Bean will definitely fit in all these forms. It also takes care of your baby's nutrition as a perfect combo of sweet taste and vitamins, minerals and proteins in extra rich quantities.


Famous Yam Bean Recipes

  • Mexican Chili & Lime Infused Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Appetizer
  • Indonesian Fruit Platter with Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce
  • Penang Mixed Salad Recipe
  • Jicama Bean Salad
  • And many more delicious recipes.