Have you ever heard of jicama? It is a root vegetable native to Central America, and especially from Mexico, whose name is derived from the Aztec word xicamatl meaning “that which has taste”. It looks like a turnip or a round potato but a little bit flattened, like a top. Its flesh is juicy, crunchy and sweet, with a slight chestnut taste.
It can be eaten raw or cooked. After peeling, it can be cooked like a potato. It provides a similar texture with a pleasant sweet note and far fewer calories. When left raw, in a salad for example, you’ll appreciate its juicy and refreshing side. Traditionally, Mexican cooks cut jicama into thin slices and add lemon juice, a little bit of chili, coriander and a pinch of salt.
It is important to know that the skin should be removed, as it is not digestible. In fact, apart from the tubers, all the other parts of the jicama (stems, leaves, seeds, etc.) are toxic. In Mexico, an infusion of its seeds is used as an insecticide.
When buying jicama, choose round, firm tubers that can then be stored at room temperature and away from the light for up to a month. Once they are cut, store them in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic to retain their moisture or in an air-tight dish covered with water and a little lemon juice. In this case, they should be eaten in the following days as the starch quickly converts to sugar.