Get to know Jicama

Jicama doesn’t look like much, but once you get past its homely exterior, this refreshingly different vegetable is sure to delight! Frieda’s Specialty Produce encourages shoppers to pick one up on their next trip to the produce department.

Also known as a Yam Bean or Mexican Potato, Jicama grows on vines and is actually a member of the Legume (bean) family. This bean is downright ugly with its dusty-beige scabby skin and turnip-like shape. It ranges in size from a few ounces to up to six pounds, with the majority weighing between 2 and 4 pounds.

Once you remove its fibrous brown skin with a paring knife, you’ll find a lovely creamy-white interior with a juicy, crisp texture and deliciously refreshing, slightly sweet taste that is often compared to a combination of potato and apple. Jicama is being discovered as a dieter’s top veggie thanks to its low-calorie content and excellent, satisfying texture. It’s also gluten-free (great for those with celiac disease), and a good source of vitamin C.

Tasty, healthy, and versatile, Jicama can be enjoyed raw or cooked. A favorite way to enjoy it in Mexico is chopped fresh into sticks and topped with fresh lime juice and chili powder. Use Jicama in place of water chestnuts in stir-fries, or steam, boil, mash or fry it like a potato. One of the most popular Jicama applications in the U.S. is in refreshing slaws and fresh salads. Simply grate or julienne and combine with citrus or vinegar and spices such as cilantro and chili powder.

When selecting Jicama at your supermarket, avoid those that are wet, slimy or have soft spots. Jicama should be kept cool and dry, but never damp or sprayed with water. Once home, keep your jicama in a cool, dark place (not the refrigerator), such as a pantry where you store potatoes and onions. Once cut, refrigerate and use within a few days.

Here are a few a simple Jicama recipes to try:

Jicama, Orange and Onion Salad
2 cups torn lettuce leaves
2 fresh oranges, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise
4 thin slices red onion, separated
1 cup Frieda’s Jicama, peeled and julienne-sliced
Cilantro-Orange Dressing

In a large salad bowl, place torn lettuce. Cut orange slices into quarters; toss into lettuce with onion and Jicama. Makes 4 side-dish salads.

Cilantro-Orange Dressing:
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. light olive oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp. Frieda’s Cilantro, finely chopped
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. chili powder

Shake together all ingredients in a shaker jar; toss with salad. Makes 1/2 cup dressing.

Source: Frieda’s Inc.

Jicama Salad with Cilantro Dressing
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 bunch cilantro, leafy stems only
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Frieda’s Chile de Arbol, soaked, seeded, and minced
3 cups Chinese (Napa) cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 cups Frieda’s Jicama, peeled and cut into julienne sticks
1 cup carrots, shredded

In food processor or blender, combine oil, lime juice, 1 cup of the cilantro leaves, garlic and chile. Cover; process till nearly smooth; set aside.
For salad, toss together remaining cilantro with cabbage, jicama, and carrots. Spoon dressing over salad; toss well. Makes 4 to 5 side-dish salads; 2/3 cup dressing.

Source: Frieda’s Inc.

Jicama-Carrot Salad
This salad is a refreshing cross between traditional Waldorf salad and carrot-raisin salad.

2 cups peeled, cubed Jicama
2 carrots shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (reserve juice)
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. raisins
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
Lettuce leaves

In a salad bowl toss together the Jicama, shredded carrots, celery, drained pineapple, walnuts, and raisins. Stir together the mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice. Spoon dressing over salad, tossing to coat well. Chill till serving time. Serve on a lettuce-lined platter. Makes 5 servings.

Source: Frieda’s Inc.