What is Jicama, and how can you use it? Jicama is a root vegetable also known as the Mexican potato, Chinese turnip, and Mexican Water Chestnut. This root can be used raw or cooked with crunchy but juicy flesh and a nutty flavor. It is most commonly used in Mexican, Thai, and Asian cooking for salads or dips. But it can also be peeled and eaten raw.
If you are feeling up to trying something new, pick one of these guys up at your local grocery store. Peel it, cut it into strips or bites, and add lemon or lime juice. A fresh Jicama will stay good for two to three weeks in a cool, dry place before being cut. Once cut, it should be refrigerated.
Jicama is also a member of the Fabaceae family, the same family as peas and beans. Unlike peas and beans, the bulbous root is the only edible part of a Jicama vine. Do not eat its leaves or pods. This family of plants is known for its nitrogen fixation properties, enabling soil nitrogen to be made available to plants. If you live in an area with nutrient-poor soils, this is a great plant to help restore your soil to better health.
Do you live in a hot climate? Try growing our Thai Jicama from seed. It grows well in temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not plant before the last potential frost because it is not frost tolerant. It also requires a long growing season, as you should plan on it taking 6-9 months to harvest. The root will vary in size but generally reaches 5 inches in diameter.