Jicama dickory dock.
Eat this root vegetable — it’s not a rock.
Chop it up and see
How tasty it can be,
Especially when you serve it with guac.
Pronounced HEE-ka-ma, this unassuming tuber might be something you stroll right by in the produce section of your grocery store without giving it a second glance. Stop missing out on this crunchtastic ingredient! The texture of jicama is similar to that of an apple or a raw potato — crisp and juicy, and the flavor is mild and slightly sweet. Next time you are serving up something that could use a refreshing crunch factor, let jicama work its magic.
WHAT IS IT?
Jicama is a root vegetable. The jicama plant belongs to the legume family, whose members include chickpeas, green beans and snap peas. Native to Mexico and Central and South America, jicamas like warm, tropical-type weather, and most of those available in the U.S. come from Mexico. We eat the tubers and stay away from the plant parts that grow above the ground which are poisonous.Don’t judge a #jicama by its cover! #saslife Click To Tweet
WHAT’S THE APPEAL?
Besides adding crunch to your favorite dishes, this refreshing, nonstarchy tuber can help you reach your 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, offering a significant amount of vitamin C, along with some bone-supporting magnesium, manganese and potassium. Jicama is also a good source of soluble fiber which helps to balance blood sugar, cholesterol and bowel movements, and it provides the prebiotic fiber inulin (food for the good bacteria in your gut).
SELECTING THE PERFECT SPECIMEN
Jicama’s peak season runs from October into the spring, but it generally is available year-round. When selecting a jicama, look for one that is firm and free from soft spots. One that is heavy for its size is most likely to be crisp and juicy. Small to medium-sized tubers are your best bet as large tubers are more likely to be dry and fibrous, and smaller tubers are usually sweeter.
STORING AND PREPARING
Until you are ready to use them, store your jicamas in a cool, dark place just like you would store potatoes. They will keep for 2-3 weeks, even longer if stored in the fridge. When you're ready to use your jicama:
- Scrub the outside, then cut it in half.
- Use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin. Once you get a section started, the skin should peel off in sections.
- Trim off any remaining fibrous parts, and then chop it into any shape you choose. It won't brown when exposed to air, so it can be prepped ahead of time.
- Once cut, jicama can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Covering cut jicama with cold water and a dash of lemon or lime juice will help keep it fresh.
SERVING IT UP
Jicama is enhanced by a variety of flavors including citrus, cilantro, chili powder, ginger, red onion, sesame oil and soy sauce or tamari. It soaks up flavors from marinades like a champ and pairs well with grilled fish and pork. Here are some ideas for putting your jicama to good use.
- Use jicama in slaw, and serve with pulled pork or fish.
- Slice it thin and add it to a taco, sandwich or wrap for some extra crunch.
- Finely chop jicama and add it to salsa or pico de gallo.
- Add jicama to vegetable salads or fruit salads.
- Cut it into thick sticks, sprinkle it with lime juice and chili powder, and serve with guacamole, hummus or salsa.
- Add it to a stir-fry with sesame oil and rice vinegar.
- Bake it or boil and mash it like you would potatoes.
If you want to elevate your jicama game even more, go the extra mile to brighten its flavor by tossing cut pieces with a small amount of salt and letting them drain in a colander for 30 minutes or so before using.
Jicama Cabbage Salad with Asian Dressing
Sweet and Sour Asian Dressing
½ tsp seeded and diced jalapeno pepper
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from ½ lime)
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 lb red cabbage, shredded (about 6 cups)- cut off bottom, cut in half, remove core and shred with a sharp knife
½ lb jicama, peeled and cut into small julienne pieces (about 4 cups)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or fresh basil
½ cup chopped almonds
- Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, jicama, mint and cilantro or basil, and toss with dressing.
- Sprinkle with chopped almonds.
- Serve as a side dish or top with tofu or salmon for a complete meal.