Apart from its brown papery skin, jicama is entirely edible. The creamy white flesh is firm, sweet and slightly starchy with a very distinct crunch. Thinking of jicama as a savory apple, as TheKitchn describes it, may help in classifying this unique food that many of us may have had limited exposure to.
Jicama is typically enjoyed raw, though it can be sautéed or stir-fried and still retain its crunch. To prepare, begin by peeling the skin. Using a chef’s knife, remove a thin slice from the top and bottom of your jicama in order to create a flat surface on each end. Working from top to bottom and following the curve, carefully slide your knife under the skin to remove it. Once peeled, you don’t need to worry about removing any seeds as the entire interior portion is edible. Jicama is often served in very simple preparations such as salads, slaws, salsas or just eaten raw on a vegetable tray. It pairs well with citrus fruits, peppers, avocado and cilantro.
|The jicama harvest begins!|
While it’s challenging to grow jicama in the Midwest, we’re continuing to learn about growing this crop in Wisconsin. One of our employees, Jose Antonio Cervantes Gutierrrez, introduced us to this crop several years ago with a small handful of seeds he brought from home. After some experimentation, we’ve finally figured out how to pull off this crop with success. We use a combination of an early start in the greenhouse and the use of plastic mulch to trap heat and increase the soil temperature to create a microclimate more similar to the ideal growing conditions for this crop. We hope you enjoy this little taste of the tropics!
Jicama Sticks with Chile & Lime
(Botana de Jicama con Chile y Limon)
1 pound jicama, peeled
Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
Juice of ½ bitter orange (about 1 Tbsp), optional
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
¼ tsp ground dried chile, cayenne or red pepper flakes
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro, optional
1 tsp sugar, optional
- Cut the jicama lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices, then cut the slices into ½-inch wide sticks.
- Place the sticks in a medium bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients. Arrange in small 2-ounce shot glasses, standing them up like breadsticks, and moisten with the juices of the marinade.
This is a traditional way to enjoy jicama in Mexico and is a common street food offering. This is Maricel Presilla’s interpretation of this method of preparation that is featured in her cookbook, Gran Cocina Latina.