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How to Serve Jicama Raw or Cooked

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

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 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.

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 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, 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.
JIcama
Jicama

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.

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7 Comments

  1. Jicama is ready for harvest 8 to 10 months after planting seeds. Young tubers taste better than larger, older, fibrous tubers. The smaller and younger the jicama, the sweeter the flavor and the finer the texture. Jicama will keep 2 to 3 weeks in the frig after harvest. Wash and pull off the easily removed skin with a knife; then slice, shred, or grate and use raw or cooked, according to the recipe.

  2. I will be growing Jicama for the first time this summer and would like to know what the best companion plants are for it. I live in north west Oklahoma where the summers can be very hot and very windy. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

  3. Jicama is a sub-tropical, warm-season, vine that can grow to 20 feet or more in length. In warm climates it will grow as a perennial, but in Oklahoma is likely to grow as an annual. Jicama can be grown on arbors and fences and in large containers–the bulbous root can reach 8 inches in diameter. The jicama prefers moist and tropical conditions between 75F and 95F and takes at least 4 months to come to harvest. Given these requirements, hot dry winds will work against the success of jicama. For optimal conditions, shield the plant from wind: companion crops of tall growing corn and sunflowers planted to shield the jicama may help. Cactus–Opuntia ficus indica–is a good companion crop cultivated for its fruits. If you grow jicama on a trellis, fence, or supports, plant other warm-weather crops starting at about 5 feet away. Crops to grow in the same garden with annual jicama include bush beans, tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, and eggplant.

  4. Hello, I love jicama. But lately have had so much trouble finding any that aren’t brown inside. Can you tell me why they are like that, and how to pick ones that isn’t brown inside. Also have seen some in the store that are cover with wax. What is the purpose of that? Thanks. I miss my jicama!!! 😉

    • Jicama that is brown inside has likely been on the shelf or in the market for an extended period of time. Jicama, unlike the potato, does not turn brown when sliced–unless it is sliced and then left sitting for some time. If you have just brought jicama home from the market and it is brown inside when you slice it for the first time, take it back to the produce person and ask how long the jicama has been at the market and how long since it was harvested. The wax covering was added by the shipper; the shipper anticipated that the jicama might have a long journey or might sit on the shelf for an extended period. The wax was intended to seal the tuber from rough handling and long exposure on the shelf.

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