Yum Friday Recipe: Jicama & Canary Melon Salsa

22 Jul

The sweet juiciness of canary melon and the crunch of jicama don’t just make a perfect duo to dance on your taste buds; they benefit your skin (and body) as well.  Before we get to the benefits of the melon, a bit of trivia, canary melons are named “canary” because of their color and not because they come from the Canary Islands–they are yellow, oval, and taste similar to a cantaloupe, but much sweeter.

Canary Melons are extremely high in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin A (beta-carotene).  Another bit of trivia: Did you know that humans are one of the few mammals that can’t make Vitamin C in the body? We’re up there hanging along with bats in this. We lack the enzyme and hence our need for foods that contain Vitamin C.

Vitamin C synthesizes collagen in the body.  Collagen is a protein that rebuilds and repairs the skin and gives it its elasticity.  Vitamin C along with vitamin A also fight free radicals. Free radicals cause wrinkles and contribute to dry skin.  Vitamin C also can help with skin damage from the sun.  As a side note: Dr. Andrew Weil recommends increasing Vitamin C intake before surgery, during (if the doctor will go along with it), and after surgery to heal surgical wounds.  Vitamin A also helps to rebuild and repair skin tissue.

Jicama (pronounced hic-ama) is crispy like an apple, but without the tart and juicy component; it’s more starchy.  Jicama is a great source of fiber.  Fiber is needed in the diet to eliminate toxins and waste, which is very beneficial for the skin.  Jicama comes from Central America and resembles an overgrown turnip.  Jicama is usually eaten raw and makes a great addition to salad.  Jicama also contains Vitamin C and some of the B vitamins.

Jicama Canary Melon Salsa —Serves 4 – 6     

1/2 jicama, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 canary melon, seeded and cut into cubes
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (leave the seeds if you want a little more spice)

½ lime, juiced
8 -10 fresh basil leaves, julienne
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Preparing Jicama – Cut the jicama into quarters and use a peeler to remove the skin. Cut the jicama into matchsticks and then chop into cubes. 

In a large bowl, mix together the jicama, melon, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, olive oil, rice wine vinegar and salt.  If you have time, refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.   Before serving, toss in basil–leave some basil for garnish.  
Serve as a salsa on grilled fish or chicken breast. It also makes a refreshing side dish.  

Reference:

Bouchez, Colleen “Nutrients for Healthy Skin: Inside and Out.”  Online: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/skin-nutrition

Weil, Andrew MD, “Vitamin C for Surgery.” Online: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400331/Vitamin-C-for-Surgery.html

Recipe by: Lisa Mackenize Karson

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