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Definition: jicama from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

(ca. 1909) : an edible starchy tuberous root of a tropical American vine (Pachyrhizus erosus) of the legume family that is eaten raw or cooked

Summary Article: Jicama
From The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients

Native to Central America, jicama is now cultivated in every tropical corner of the globe. It is a popular vegetable in Mexico, as well as in China and other parts of East Asia. The ivory flesh has a pleasant, mild flavor—somewhat similar to pear or apple—and a juicy texture that stays crunchy whether it is used fresh or cooked. It pairs well with other foods.


Jicama is available year-round, but is especially fresh in Asian or Latin American markets from fall to spring. Choose unblemished tubers with a fresh-looking sheen. Dull, older tubers will be dried out and full of tough fibers.


Keep the whole tuber, without bagging, in the crisper of the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you use just a piece, seal the cut side of the unused portion with plastic wrap.


Jicama, like Jerusalem artichoke, can be difficult for some people to est, so it is best to add it to your diet slowly at first.


Grate, dice, or julienne to add crunchy texture to salads. Good in fruit salads, too. Cut into slices or sticks for crudités—try sprinkling them with lime juice, salt, and hot chili powder, as they do in Mexico.


Steam, boil, bake, stir-fry, sauté, or braise.


Pickle sticks of jicama.

Flavor pairings

Chili, lime, avocado, mango.

Classic recipes

Green papaya salad.

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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Cambridge World History of Food

A plant that provides both a root vegetable and beans, the jícama ( Pachyrhizus erosus = Dolichos erosus ) is also called “Mexican potato,”...

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