If you’re not familiar with the virtues of Jicama (pronounced hee-koo-ma), it’s about time you were. This root vegetable, native to Mexico, is available nearly year-round and is an excellent source of both vitamin C and fiber. It’s sweet and starchy with white flesh and the crisp crunch of an apple and is just as tasty cooked, as it is raw. Not sure what to do with your jicama beyond the veggies and dip platter? Try one of these suggestions and use jicama in a new and unexpected way.
Sprinkle With Chili And Lime
Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Jicama is roughly 85% water and at only 49 calories per cup, makes a tasty and healthy snack. In Mexico and Central America, jicama is traditionally peeled, sliced and then sprinkled with chili-spiked salt and a spritz of lime for a sweet and spicy treat. Look for it this summer on street corners from vendors selling fresh sliced fruits and juices and at your local farmer’s market.
Mix Into Coleslaw
Homegirl Café And Catering
130 W. Bruno St.
Los Angeles CA 90012
Jicama’s sweetness pairs well with cabbage and carrot, which is why you’ll find it in virtually all of the salads at Homegirl Café in Downtown LA. Just be sure to add some citrus to the dressing to maintain its bright white color!
Take It To A Cocktail Party
Jennifer Martello, Personal Chef
Jicama is sturdy, making it perfect for holding in one hand at a cocktail party, according to Jennifer Martello, a personal chef in Redondo Beach. When sliced thinly and cut into two-inch squares, it makes a great, gluten-free alternative to a cracker. Martello suggests topping jicama squares with a creamy hummus or black bean dip and garnish with grated carrots for a healthy canapé.
1425 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA
Out of water chestnuts? Laura Martino, Marketing Supervisor for Whole Foods Market Santa Monica says try jicama instead. After peeling and slicing, add to your stir-fry along with the broccoli, carrots and snap peas. Jicama’s texture will stand up to high heat, and add a subtle sweetness similar to water chestnuts.
P.O. Box 21127
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Have you ever heard the phrase, “If it grows together, it goes together?” Since jicama is native to Mexico and Central America, it pairs well with other fruits from the same region, including mango, pineapple and papaya. If putting a vegetable in your fruit salad still seems unnatural, try a spicy fruit salsa like this one made from a recipe by Melissa’s Produce.
Christianne Winthrop is an LA-based freelance food writer, caterer and culinary instructor She contributes to SeriousEats.com and BrainWorld, among others.