Jicama is a large, bulbous, root vegetable. (Pronounced heek-a-mah). It is also known as the Mexican turnip, Mexican potato, Mexican yam, or yam bean. This plant was originally exported from the Spanish to the Philippines in the 17th century. Jicama comes from the Aztec word xicamalt. They used its seeds as medicine. Jicama is also one of the four elements honored during the Festival of the Dead on November 1st in Mexico.
Jicama is a starchy, edible root. It has thin, brown, papery skin that must be removed before eating. The flesh is crispy and white. It can be eaten cooked or raw. It has a flavor similar to raw potato and apple. Jicama won’t discolor when cut.
The root is the only edible part of the jicama plant. The leaves, stems, and ripe pods of the plant are poisonous. Jicama is also used to make a thickener similar to arrowroot.
There are two main varieties of Jicama: Pachyrhizus tuberosus, and P. erosus. P. tuberosus is native to the Amazon. It grows in tropical and temperate zones of the Americas, Andes, Ecuador, China and Caribbean. It is 8 to 12 inches in diameter. When this plant reaches a diameter of 12 inches, a toxic substance called retonone is produced. Retonone is used as an insecticide. P. tuberosus is juicy, and almost always eaten raw. P. erosus comes in two types: water and milk. They just denote the consistency of the root. It grows in Mexico and Central America. It is 6 to 8 inches in length. P. erosus is eaten raw or cooked.
Jicama contains vitamin C and Potassium. Peak season for the jicama is November through May.
Flavors for Jicama
citrus, especially lime