General Question

JackAdams's avatar

Will you please advise me, regarding this new word I have learned?

Asked by JackAdams (6492points) September 30th, 2008

I’ve lived almost 59 years, and never heard this word, until today, when I heard it for the first time ever, in my life: JICAMA

I know what it is, but I don’t have any idea how to prepare it for eating, for the very first time in my life. Could you please give me some suggestions, and your own experiences with eating it?

I’m still in a state of shock, that I have never heard this word in my entire life, until today (9–30-08).

Thanks, in advance, for any recipe suggestions you have. I’m so excited!

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39 Answers

Nimis's avatar

I usually have it julienned with carrots, lightly pickled.
Usually in the context of Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian or Thai food.
Apple vinegar, water, and sugar.

PupnTaco's avatar

Pronounced “HICK-um-uh” or “HEEK-um-uh.”

Peel it like a potato, slice it into sticks and serve it with the rest of your crudités.

fireside's avatar

I’ve only ever had it raw, but i like Nimis’ idea.

JackAdams's avatar

So, you are saying I should munch on it, like raw carrots?

Nimis's avatar

Its texture is similar to an apple.
But besides a slight vegetable-y taste,
it’s kind of on the flavourless side.

Probably best pickled as a side dish/salad
to accompany heavier (usually meat) dishes.

Or you could try it with a dip (as crudité implies).
Though I haven’t personally.

PupnTaco's avatar

@ JA: If you like. I think it tastes kinda like dirt.

kruger_d's avatar

I’ve used it in coleslaw.

JackAdams's avatar

I’ve been told it is a member of the sugar beet family and has a sweet taste. True?

trudacia's avatar

Oh Jack! I agree with Kruger. It’s great in cole slaw. Also wonderful on it’s own, like an apple.

Great with cheddar.

Jicama is very yummy and I love the texture.

JackAdams's avatar

Thanks to everyone. I’m grateful for the input.

Can hardly wait to sample one!

Nimis's avatar

I like jicama. But, oh boy!
That’s a lot of pressure for one little vegetable.

krose1223's avatar

Well Jack, if it makes you feel better I haven’t ever heard of it either. And I live in Texas where there are a lot of Mexicans… Actually, my son is half mexican. Ha. So this is off topic, but how do you do that link thing? As in, how do you make the link say a word?

fireside's avatar

@krosel -follow the link below
Style your text! strong emphasis—whisper link → link. See the entire list.

krose1223's avatar

:) Thank you

Cardinal's avatar

Jack: My rule of thumb is, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

ladytmerie's avatar

I like to slice my Jicama about the size of small French fries, squeeze lemon on it, and sprinkle powdered pico de gallo on it. Yum. I learned this in East LA where it is sold on the street along with mango prepared the same way. It is good chopped into tuna or chicken salad also.

Nimis's avatar

Lady: Mmmmm…that sounds good.
You’re really making me miss those stands down there.

JackAdams's avatar

I haven’t bought fresh food from a roadside stand, in many years. I sure miss that…

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I’ve had it served in fat matchsticks (french fry size) with peach salsa. I liked it. I have heard people say it tastes like dirt to them, but not to me at all. I think it tastes a little sweet, but mostly like a kind of watery crunchy potato almost.

Cardinal, LOL, if we followed your rule we’d all be dead! Did you learn to talk the day you were born?

syz's avatar

Mango-jicama salsa is fantastic. It goes great as a topping for grilled fish, too. I can’t find the recipe that I usually use, but this one looks close:

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/appetizers-snacks/mango-kiwi-salsa-with-jicama-chips/
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/GRILLED-FISH-TOSTADAS-WITH-PINEAPPLE-JICAMA-SALSA-232552

From Wikipedia:

ícama (Spanish: hee-kah-mah, from Nahuatl xicamatl hee-kah-mahtl), also Mexican Potato and Mexican Turnip, is the name of a native Mexican and Central American vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant’s edible tuberous root. Jicama is one species in the genus Pachyrhizus that is commonly called yam bean, although the “yam bean” sometimes is another name for Jicama. The other, major species of yam beans are indigenous to other parts of the Americas.

The jicama vine can reach a height of 4–5 metres given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kilograms. The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavour is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and powdered chili. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Cultivation of jícama has recently spread from the Americas to China and Southeast Asia where notable uses of raw jícama include popiah and salads such as yusheng and rojak.

In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish.

Jícama is high in carbohydrates in the form of dietary fibre. It is composed of 86–90% water; it contains only trace amounts of protein and lipids. Its sweet flavour comes from the oligofructose inulin (also called fructo-oligosaccharide).

Jicama should be stored dry, between 12°C and 16°C (53°F and 60°F); colder temperatures will damage the root. A fresh root stored at an appropriate temperature will keep for a month or two.

whatthefluther's avatar

@JA…Be sure the jicama is crisp and juicy like an apple and not dry & pithy in which case it will be pretty much tasteless. Slice into carrot stick sized pieces, drench with fresh squeezed lime (let the sticks sit in a pool of lime juice), salt to taste and enjoy with your favorite cerveza (beer) or tequila shooters

Nimis's avatar

WTF: Mmmm….that sounds good too.

JackAdams's avatar

I can really hardly wait to try it, because I am always excited about sampling new foods.

That’s how I fell in love with my all-time favorite seafood, Lobster!

whatthefluther's avatar

@JA…Ah, lobster. Also one of my favorites! I’ve got a story about lobster. My late step-grandfather was born into a kosher household and followed the dietary requirements for over 90 years. He and my grandmother loved within walking distance from the famous Farmer’s Market in Los Angeles (3rd & Fairfax), which had an excellent fresh seafood shop. At the age of 93, he broke the kosher dietary law of no shell fish and enjoyed his very first lobster. I don’t know what made him cave on, but I suspect it was the “I’m in heaven” smiles on customers faces as they took a bite of lobster. He went on to enjoy a lobster a week for nearly five years until he passed. My grandmother turned her cheek and never said a word to him explaining to others who asked that he was a good man, a true gentleman and a wonderful husband and tho she did not agree with it, she wouldnt think of not allowing something that brought him such obvious pleasure. She was a wonderful person as well and darn near lived to 100.

Nimis's avatar

I had a pet lobster as a kid.
He was supposed to be my dinner.

whatthefluther's avatar

sorry about typos. Computer crashed so I’m using phone. Guess I better give my PC some attention (or start shopping for my first Mac)

boxing's avatar

That is first time I heard this word too! But after reading about it, I am sure I have eaten this thing before. Taste really good, cooked or raw.

XrayGirl's avatar

in a state of shock??

JackAdams's avatar

Yep. I thought I had eaten almost every Hispanic culinary dish imaginable.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Have you had cabrito, Jack?

JackAdams's avatar

Not by that name… Is it known by something else?

JackAdams's avatar

Yes.

I was told three days later.

Over the phone.

Long distance.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

What did you think you were eating? Very dry pork?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Ok, what about this one? Have you had lengua? With the tastebuds on?

JackAdams's avatar

Never had Chaco tribal tongues, either…

La_chica_gomela's avatar

No, really, what did you think you were eating?
And Chaco what?

JackAdams's avatar

The Lengua are a Chaco Tribe.

It was in 1971 that I had goat in Nogales, Mexico, right over the border from Nogales, Arizona, so I don’t have crystal clear memories of something I ate with a friend, 37 years ago.

But we are going off topic here, which is supposed to be JICAMA.

We can continue this off-topic banter, if you like, via PM, please.

¡Gracias!

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