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How to Serve Jicama Raw or Cooked

Jicama, blueberries, roasted corn kernels, avocado, and romaine lettuce leaves

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The stark white flesh of jicama is cool and crunchy, perfect for eating out of hand after peeling. Jicama can be diced and added to fruit or green salads or speared and featured on dessert trays next to cantaloupe and pears and cheese cubes.

Jicama can be combined with other vegetables in stir-fries or added to savory soups or stewed with meat and poultry. You can mash jicama like a potato.

Jicama on salad
Jicama, blueberries, roasted corn kernels, avocado, and romaine lettuce leaves

Jicama is a squat, knobby, earth-colored root vegetable that resembles a turnip with an apple-like, nutty flavor. 

The peak season for jicama is autumn through late spring.

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How to choose jicama

  • Select well-formed, small- to medium-size jicamas with smooth unblemished skins.
  • Jicama skin should be thin and easily scratched with your thumbnail to reveal the creamy white flesh.
  • Avoid thick-skinned jicamas or those that are cracked or bruised or shriveled.
  • Large jicamas will be thick-skinned, fibrous, and dry.

How to store jicama

  • Jicamas, like potatoes, will keep in a cool, dry place uncovered for up to 3 weeks.
  • Avoid exposure to moisture which will cause mold.
  • Once cut or sliced jicama should be wrapped in plastic and can be stored in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Jicama sliced
JIcama sliced

How to prepare jicama

  • The skin of the jicama is not edible. Scrub well removing any dirt and peel with a paring knife before using.
  • Grate or cut into cubes, julienne strips, or slices.
  • To avoid discoloring after cutting, submerge jicama slices in a bowl of acidulated water before cooking.
  • Allow about ¼ pound per person when used for appetizers and salads.
JIcama and mango salad
JIcama and mango slaw salad

Jicama serving suggestions

  • Jicamas can be served raw or cooked.
  • Cut into spears and use for dipping and appetizers.
  • Cut into squares and add to fruit salad.
  • Serve mashed or baked like a potato.
  • Add diced to seafood, poultry, mixed green or orange, and onion salads.
  • Julienne-cut and stir-fry with other vegetables
  • Add to soups, vegetables, rice, quiches, meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Sauté with carrots or green beans.
  • Stir-fry with chicken or shrimp.
  • Simmer in savory stews like a potato.
  • Serve cut sticks with a squeeze of lime and chili powder.
  • Drizzle lime juice over thin jicama slices and sprinkle with chili-seasoned salt.

Jicama cooking suggestions

  • Jicama cooks like a potato and can be boiled, baked, steamed, and fried. If cooked briefly it will retain its starchy but apple-like texture.
  • Jicamas are used as a substitute for water chestnuts in Asian cooking. They have the same refreshingly crisp texture.

How to steam jicama

  1. Peel and clean the jicama and cut them into cubes or rounds.
  2. Put them in a steamer basket set in a medium pot over 1 or 2  inches of lightly salted boiling water.
  3. Cook until they are just tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife.
  4. Serve with a pinch of marjoram and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.

How to bake jicama

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rub the jicama with olive or vegetable oil; sprinkle it with salt. Prick the jicama with the tines of a fork.
  3. Place the jicama on a baking sheet or lay it directly on the oven rack,
  4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on size); turn the jicama once at halfway.
  5. Bake until the skin is golden and crispy; the jicama will be baked when a knife inserted in the flesh meets no resistance. The internal temperature should be about 210 degrees F.

How to sauté jicama

  1. Clean the jicama and cut them into slices or thin rounds.
  2. Put them in a saucepan with one teaspoon of salt, 1/2 stick butter, and 1/4 cup of water and cook over medium heat. Shake occasionally to make sure they do not brown or cook too fast.
  3. Cook until they are just tender when pierced with the tip of a small knife.
  4. Add a large pinch of marjoram and a tablespoon of chopped parsley.
Jicama fries
Jicama fries with salt and pepper

How to pan-fry jicama

  1. For pan-fried jicama, use par-cooked (partially boiled) jicama, peeled or unpeeled.
  2. Cut into slices between ¼ and ½-inch thick.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. 
  4. Add jicama. Cook jicama in batches.
  5. Adjust the heat so that the jicama pieces sizzle but do not smoke.
  6. Add flavorings such as salt and pepper or paprika or minced onions.
  7. Turn with a spatula until browned and soft.

How to boil jicama

  1. Boil jicama with the skin intact if the jicama is the size of a golf ball or smaller. Peel and quarter larger jicama.
  2. Boil in well-salted water until tender, that is until a sharp knife can pierce the jicama with little resistance.
  3. Drain the water and set the jicamas in a colander to dry. Jicamas will continue to cook for a bit after they are out of the boiling water.
  4. Serve hot with melted butter and minced herbs, or drizzled with olive oil and lemon zest.
  5. Boiled jicama can sit at room temperature for nearly an hour before the flavor and texture start to deteriorate.

Jicama flavor partners

  • Jicamas have a flavor affinity for chili powder, cilantro, ginger, grilled fish, lemon, lime, oranges, red onion, salsa, sesame oil, and soy sauce.

Jicama nutrition

  • Jicama is high in potassium and a fair source of vitamin C.
  • One cup of shredded jicama contains about 50 calories.

Get to know jicama

  • Jicama (pronounce HEE-cah-mah) is native to Mexico and Central America. Jicama is the tuber of a twining herbaceous plant that grows as a perennial in the tropics and as an annual in temperate regions. The jicama usually produces one or two dust-brown tubers.
  • There are two varieties of jicama. The first, Pachyrhizus erosus, is smaller than the second and most popular in Mexico and Central America. This jicama grows 6 to 8 inches long and is slightly flattened at the ends. This jicama can be eaten raw or cooked. It is crisp, juicy, and sweet.
  • The second variety, Pachyrhizus tuberosus, is the larger of the two and grows in both tropical and temperate zones. It can be found in the Andes region of Ecuador, in the Caribbean, and in China. This jicama grows from 8 to 12 inches long and is harvested when about 1 inch in diameter. It is juicy and almost always eaten raw.
  • Jicamas range in weight from a few ounces (100 g) to 6 pounds (2.7 kg); most weigh about half a pound (220 g).
  • Jicamas that grow in Central America and Mexico are sometimes called ‘yam beans’.

The botanical name of jicama is Pachyrhizus erosus.

Articles of interest:

How to Start an Herb Garden

Best Herbs for Container Growing

Herbs for Cool Season Growing

Growing Herbs for Cooking

Garden Planning Books at Amazon:

More kitchen tips:

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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