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Jicama is a crunchy root vegetable packed with vitamin C that can be eaten both raw or cooked. Add jicama root to stir-fries, salsas, and fruit salads for a refreshing crunch.

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What Is Jicama?

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus), also known as the yam bean or Mexican turnip, is a tuberous root vegetable in the bean family, traditionally grown in Mexico and Central America. Jicama has a lightly sweet and starchy white flesh like an under-ripe pear, and a papery husk of brown skin that can be carefully removed with a vegetable peeler, or a chef’s knife, before eating.

There are two types of jicama: jicama de agua, named for the watery consistency of its juice, is the type most commonly found in grocery stores in the United States; jicama de leche has a more oblong shape and a milkier, concentrated juice than jicama de agua.

What Does Jicama Taste Like?

Raw jicama has a mild flavor, best described as a cross between a water chestnut and a savory apple.

How to Buy Jicama

Ripe jicama is firm and heavy with relatively unblemished skin. Jicama’s outer skin provides protection during the growing process, so shiny, relatively unblemished skin means the interior of the vegetable has been well-preserved. Avoid buying jicama with blemished, dull, or thick skin, as the interior of the vegetable may be compromised by bacteria or a soil disease.

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How to Eat Jicama

Jicama shines best in its raw state, but it can also be lightly cooked and still retain its signature snap.

  • Dice it up for stir-fry. Add diced jicama into your next stir-fry for a refreshing crunch: Incorporate the jicama into your a few minutes before the end of the cooking process, to avoid overcooking and losing its texture.
  • Create a slaw. Combine thin slices of jicama with equally thin carrot or cabbage matchsticks and a handful of fresh cilantro in a crispy, refreshing slaw for tacos, or a nutritious side dish.
  • Add it to salsa. Incorporate small-diced jicama into a salsa with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs, and citrus, or black beans, avocado, and minced green chile.
  • Use it as a garnish. Grate, or cut jicama into thin matchsticks to use as a garnish in stews like pozole, tortilla soup, or gazpacho.
  • Pair it with dip. Slice jicama into strips for use as a crudité with hummus, or another dip of your choice.
  • Add it to fruit salad. In Mexico, jicama is often included in fruit salads with watermelon.