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What Is Jicama?

Jicama is the name of an edible root that is crispy and has a sweet taste. Jicama actually looks somewhat like a turnip even though both plants are not related to each other. This edible root is actually planted and cultivated in many countries in South America for many centuries now. It actually figures prominently in Mexican cuisine. This vegetable has a distinct flavor that makes it a perfect fit for salsas, vegetable platters, and salads.

The Jicama root can sometimes grow to a large size, but if the root gets too large – approximately around the size of two closed fists – the plant starts turning the sugars inside the Jicama into starch, which turns its sweet flavor and makes it taste like wood. That’s why when buying Jicama in the grocery, one should always choose those that are medium in size. It should also be firm to the touch and its roots should be dry. Avoid buying Jicama’s that are wet or have wet and soft spots because this can indicate the early stages of rot.

The jicama is classified as a legume and it grows on vines. The vines can get as long as 20 feet and it would usually grow very low to the ground, which ends in tubers that, when fully grown, can weight up to 50 pounds. But this is too big as most Jicama that is brought to the market weigh three to four pounds on the average. The Jicama’s coarse brown skin should be peeled first and reveal the white “meat” inside before it can be eaten.

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