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In contrast to most other root crops, the plant has the legume family advantage: rhizobia bacteria in its root nodules make nitrogenous compounds that nourish the plant. This fertilizer undoubtedly helps it grow vigorously in impoverished sites and enriches the soil in which it is planted. Other salient features are the crop's high yield and considerable disease and pest resistance.

PROSPECTS

Andean Region. As more is learned about ahipa and its potential across the region, its use could become more intensive. However, its temperature and other climatic constraints need to be understood before its true potential becomes apparent.

Other Developing Areas. Although the jicama is a favorite food in Mexico, Central America, and parts of tropical Asia, ahipa is little known outside the Andes. Nonetheless, in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and highland parts of Central America it could have much appeal.

Industrialized Regions. In the United States (thanks largely to a growing Latin and Oriental population), jicama now appears regularly in supermarkets coast to coast. All of it is imported. Ahipa could earn similar popularity, and might be grown in the United States itself, as well as in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations. As a result, this round, brown root with the crisp, bright taste could be a new addition to millions of dinner tables, as well as a low-calorie food for the diet-conscious.

USES

Ahipa tubers are mainly eaten raw. The white5 flesh is sweet and refreshing and is especially popular in summer. It is often sliced thin and eaten raw in green salads and fruit salads. Since it is slow to discolor, soften, or lose its crunch, it is particularly suited to garnishes or hors d'oeuvres.

Ahipa can also be cooked. It is often lightly steamed or boiled, and retains its crunchy texture even after cooking. It fries up much like a potato. For stir-frying and braising (briefly) it can be a replacement


5 In Bolivia is found a purple and magenta striped form, which may be a particularly decorative addition to salads.


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