A large tuberous root from Mexico and South America with a white crunchy flesh, covered with an inedible light-brown or gray skin. Jicama is relative of the potato family and looks similar to a turnip or a large radish. The taste is best described as a cross between a water chestnut and an apple. Jicama can be eated raw or cooked and has a sweet, nutty flavor with a crisp texture that is retained if cooked only briefly. Raw jicama is an excellent addition to salads because it does not discolor when peeled/sliced and exposed to air. When cooked, jicama will take on the flavor of the ingredients in a dish, blending nicely with many vegetables and seasonings. Jicama ranges in size from 4 ounces to 6 pounds and is a good alternative to water chestnuts.
Ethnicity: Mexico, South America
Season: available year-round
How to select: Look for well formed tubers that appear fresh and are free of cracks and bruises; and a thin skin--thick skin means it is old.
How to store: Refrigerate up to 2 weeks uncut and unwrapped; once cut, cover and it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator. Conversion of starch to sugar will result if stored for excessive periods and should be avoided.
How to prepare: Steamed, baked, boiled, microwave, fried, raw. Remove the outer skin and cut into cubes or strips.
Matches well with: cayenne, chiles, cilantro, citrus, cucumbers, lime, mangoes, oranges, salt, vinaigrette