What Is Jicama? ♥ Vegetables 101

What Is Jicama? More Vegetables 101 ♥ AVeggieVenture.com
Hello, vegetable lover! Here you'll find everything good cooks and curious eaters want to know about the Mexican root vegetable called "jicama" that's usually eaten raw. If you've ever wondered what jicama is, exactly, or even how to spell or pronounce the word jicama, you're in exactly the right place. If you've ever wondered what jicama looks like, whether it's good for you, or how to eat jicama, you'll find your answer (and more) right here. Dive in, everybody, because jicama is a delicious, healthy vegetable to add to your diet. Recipe ideas included, especially from readers!

So many vegetables, so many that are unfamiliar! This is the first of an occasional series of posts I'm calling "Vegetables 101" filled with quick, easy and practical information about out-of-the-ordinary vegetables. First up? What Is Jicama?

What Is Jicama? What Does Jicama Look Like? And What Does It Taste Like?

IS JICAMA A FRUIT OR A VEGETABLE? Jicama is a vegetable not a fruit. Specifically, the edible portion of the jicama plant is the root. That makes jicama a root vegetable. [What Are Root Vegetables?]

JICAMA'S SKIN IS ROUGH & BROWN The jicama root is large and bulbous. A bulb may weigh one or two pounds and has a rough 'n' tough brown skin which should be peeled before eating or cooking. Frankly, it doesn't look like much so it's easy to miss it when other vegetables are so colorful and dramatic in appearance.

BUT JICAMA IS WHITE INSIDE Inside, the flesh is white, wet and crunchy, similar to a raw potato but wetter and crunchier although unlike raw potato, raw jicama is edible.

AND JICAMA'S FLAVOR? The flavor is slightly sweet, a little nutty. It's good both raw and cooked, although my own favorite is raw, since it keeps both its crispness and its color over time. To my taste, jicama is more about texture than flavor but it does, yes, taste good, really fresh and crunchy.

CAN JICAMA BE EATEN RAW? Yes! Not only can jicama be eaten raw, it's usually eaten raw!

WHAT'S A GOOD SUBSTITUTE FOR JICAMA? Well, let's think. Because jicama is firm, wet, crunchy and usually eaten raw, let's think of other vegetables that have the same qualities. Daikon has the same white color and the same crisp wetness but will add a peppery bite that jicama doesn't have. Turnip is also white inside but it's not as wet and crunchy as jicama. Potatoes are also white inside but generally, potatoes need cooking so would only be a good substitute if the jicama is supposed to be cooked. Celery is pale green not white but like jicama is wet, crunchy and lovely raw. Kohlrabi is also white inside but isn't as crisp and wet as jicama. Any other ideas, people? Let me know!

WHERE TO FIND JICAMA? Now that you know what jicama looks like, it'll be much easier to find, right? I see it in the produce sections in all the grocery stores, including Walmart, Whole Foods and all of St. Louis' local groceries. Because jicama is common in Mexican dishes, look for it in small Mexican markets too.

Jicama for Word Dancers, the Spelling, the Pronunciation, Even All the Different Names for Jicama

HOW TO SPELL JICAMA I do giggle when I see the many ways people spell jicama. Here are some: hickamah, hickamon, hicamma and jikima. See what I mean? Perfectly natural spellings, especially if you've only heard the word!

HOW TO PRONOUNCE JICAMA The word jicama is pronounced [HEE-ka-ma] or [HIK-ka-ma].

OTHER WORDS & NAMES FOR JICAMA Jicama is also called yambean, Mexican potato and Mexican turnip.

Cooking & Eating Jicama

HOW TO STORE JICAMA Store jicama in a cool, dark place, not in the fridge. I store jicama in a basket under the counter along with the onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

LOOK FOR JICAMA IN MEXICAN COOKING Since jicama is native to Mexico, naturally, it's found in many Mexican dishes. Here are a few recipe ideas.

Vegetable-Fruit Salads – A reader named Eloisa shared this recipe with me, so good! It's Eloisa's Jicama Salad.
Salsas – We love this Jicama-Mango Salsa with Chipotle.
Slaws – Readers adore this Jicama Slaw!
More Recipes – More of My Jicama Recipes

IS JICAMA EATEN RAW OR COOKED? Jicama is mostly eaten raw, either as a vegetable snack or in fresh, crisp salads and slaws. I think jicama is especially good eaten as crudites. [What Are Crudites?]

IS JICAMA DIET FRIENDLY? IS JICAMA GOOD FOR YOU? Yes! Jicama is low in carbs, non-fat and packed with fiber. It's Weight Watchers friendly, Whole30 friendly, keto friendly, paleo friendly and naturally gluten free. Jicama is low on the glycemic index, that makes it a good choice for people with diabetes.



Reader Recipes for Jicama, Thank You!

JICAMA & YOU I've listed some good recipes for jicama below but am curious, what do you most like to do with jicama? What do you think about it? Is it easy to find? Do you grow it? Share your story! Bloggers, feel free to share links to your own jicama recipes. Thanks to all the readers who've shared their ideas in the comments below, they are super inspiring and a great resource! Keep 'em coming!



How to cut a jicama? Vegetables 101 ♥ AVeggieVenture.com

How to Cut a Jicama

HOW TO PREPARE A JICAMA You don't really "peel" a jicama, the outer skin is just too tough. First, as always, wash the jicama under running water, rubbing over the skin with your hands as the water runs, reaching into nooks and crannies. (Why? Always Wash Fruits & Vegetables!)

With a sharp knife, trim a slice off the top and another off the bottom. These create a flat surface, making it a safe and sturdy vegetable to continue cutting. Work the knife around the jicama, cutting off wide swaths, first working from the top, then turning over and doing the other side.

Now, the choice is yours. Dice the jicama, cut it into batons for a vegetable tray – or grate it for coleslaw, say. It grates easily with a box grater, no need for a food processor except maybe for big batches.



Still Hungry?



MORE VEGETABLES 101

~ Vegetables 101: What Is a Tomatillo? ~
~ Vegetables 101: What Are Bitter Greens? ~
~ Vegetables 101: What Are Root Vegetables? ~
~ Vegetables 101: What Are Crudites? ~

WANNA LITTLE TASTE? GREAT JICAMA RECIPES!

~ Jicama Slaw ~
~ Eloisa's Jicama Salad ~
~ more jicama recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011 & 2019-2
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. I'm not sure why it took me so long to fully appreciate jicama, but I am loving it lately!

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  2. "Jonesing" for jicama, we'll call it, Kalyn!

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  3. It's on the menu tonight!

    Jicama Smoked Turkey Salad
    Combine:
    2 cups cubed smoked turkey \
    2 cups cubed red pepper | these are all
    2 cups cubed jicama / 1/2" cubes...
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro

    Process in a small food processor or blender and dress salad with:
    1 ripe avocado
    1 t. olive oil
    juice of one lime
    1 or 2 cloves of garlic
    1 to 2 T. Asian hot chili sauce

    So good, and wonderful the next day!

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  4. Jicama is great added to a tossed green salad for crunch.

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  5. AnonymousJune 10, 2011

    I LOVE jicama! I eat it simply sliced up, sometimes tossed with fruits like watermelon or oranges.

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  6. First time trying it. So glad I did. I cut some up into french fries and marninated it in lime juice and cilantro. Very good. I also julienned some and pan fried with a little sesame seed oil and added some vidalia onion, sliced mushrooms, green pepper and a handful of broccoli slaw and added some thinly sliced almonds to the mix. Yummy!!!

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  7. I got some of this in a veggie tray from Trader Joe's. It's really good sprinkled with Tajin - which is a Mexican chili/lime seasoning.

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  8. April BurruelMarch 08, 2012

    Growing up in Mexico, we always had it in what is called "pico de gallo". Which is nothing more than fruit salad, but cut in very large chunks. Still sold by street vendors during the summer months when a wide variety of fruit is available. Ripe mango, watermelon, cucumber, coconut(the firmer kind), even canteloup, and of course, jicama, all peeled and cut up, under a ligh film of chili pepper powder, salt, and a sprinkle of lime or lemon juice, was just the right treat after playing in the hot summer afternoons.

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  9. I process it with the s-blade in my food processor, lightly, so that it is chopped up with a consistency similar to rice, but not mushy. Then mix in some miso, lemon juice, and a bit of salty curry paste. It's very good if you put it in cheesecloth over a bowl also, and allow some of the water to leech out.

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  10. I am going to a nutrition class now and just heard about Jicama. I love it and I am very picky. We used it this way: 1 med jicama, 2 sm cucumbers, 3 med mangoes, 1/4 c. chopped cilantro, 2 tsp. chili powder, 2 limes, juiced & salt. Peel & cut jicama in long thin strips. Sclice cucumbers in half & cut into stips similar to jicama strips. Peel mangoes, cut seed out, slice into wedges. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl with chopped cilantro, chili powder & lime juice. Season with salt when ready to serve. Fantastic! This was made for a large group, prob 10 or more.

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  11. I use it in my dumplings and meatballs to replace canned water chestnuts- it adds a great crunch.

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  12. Cut it in good sized wedges, then you can peel the skin right off. This saves a lot of good jicama. Fancy recipes are ok, but don't forget that you can just eat it.

    Pete

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  13. cold, raw, slices sprinkled with saigon cinnamon, which is a litte spicier than regular cinnamon. A wonderful nightime, low-cal treat!

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  14. I like Jicama. I eat it sliced with paprika or I put it in my juicer and mix it with other vegetables that don't taste as good... It is good and juicy - get you one that is over 2 lbs, peel it and chop it into manageable pieces, then stick it in your juicer and mix it with spinach and lettuce and other "yucky" vegetable juices to mellow the flavors.

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  15. Do you have to use it all at once or can it be refrigerated after cutting and for how long.

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  16. Anonymous ~ Think of jicama like celery or cucumber, it’s “best” when it’s first cut but will also keep in the fridge. For a vegetable tray you are making ahead, you could cut it up in the morning, say, then put into a plastic bag with a damp paper towel or even an ice cube or two, just to keep cold and hydrated. Hope you love it! I made a salad with it this week, added great crunch.

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  17. I look forward to trying some of your recipes for Jicama. I love it but so far have only eaten it raw. If you cut a slice off of the top and then insert your knife just under the edge of the peel far enough to comfortable grasp the edge of the peel between your thumb and the knife, you can then pull the peel off in strips. I find this much easier than trying to slice the peel off.

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  18. Hello. I'm Mexican...so I just eat it in a fruit salad with lime and powered chili pepper. I just finished eating some and decided to Google it and found this website! Thank you for sharing..I was really curious about the nutrition facts.

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  19. I got my first taste of Jicama from Blue Apron and it was used like this: bring a lrg. pan of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, wash, peel and small cube Jicama bulb and add to water, cook (boiling for 25-30 minutes until tender and somewhat translucent). Drain, rinse and return to pot - add butter, milk, salt/pepper to taste and mash with hand masher. to desired consistency (adding more/less milk and or butter) It's the BEST alternative to mashed potatoes I've ever had - I sprinkle the green stems from scallions on top when I serve it. Delish.

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  20. Jicama peeled and cut up, cucumber (cut length-wise scoop out seeds and then cut up with peelings, juice of one lime quartered, fresh cilantro, olive oil drizzled then salt and pepper. Seasonal at Trader Joes right now, Black truffle olive oil, the bomb!

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  21. Shari ~ Great tips, thanks so much!

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  22. wonderful ideas I have had it raw & just chop and mixed with a navel orange and all the juices and it is wonderful.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. (So sorry, as of 4/23/22, I’ve had to turn comments off to prevent hundreds of spam comments a day. Stupid Spammers.) ~ Alanna