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.
Chili, lime, avocado, mango.
Green papaya salad.