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What Is Jicama And How To Use Jicama

Updated on August 16, 2012

Culinary Basics - Using Vegetables - Jicama

Jicama is an unusual looking ingredient but knowing what it can be used for is part of culinary basics.

Jicama is a culinary puzzle to look at since it looks like neither a fruit nor a vegetable but it is a vegetable.

Indeed, it is a root vegetable like a turnip or a parsnip. However, jicama is decidedly quite odd looking as you can tell and is a rather bulbous, odd-shaped very large root vegetable. All the more for you to enjoy!


  • While most are grown in Central America, China and Southeast Asia, they can also be grown here in the United States if you have a warm, dry climate
  • The jicama is a rather ugly root vegetable called the Mexican potato, the Mexican yam bean, the Chinese turnip, and the Chinese potato
  • It is much larger than even the biggest turnip or radish
  • The outside of the jicama is rough and brown
  • Inside the jicama, the vegetable is the consistency of a potato or a pear
  • Jicama has 86-90% water content
  • You can substitute chopped jicama for water chestnuts in any recipe
  • Wedges of jicama are an excellent addition to a vegetable tray as it is delicious raw
  • Jicama never turns brown no matter how long it sits out
  • High levels of vitamin C are found in jicama
  • The plants themselves are toxic

courtesy wikicommons
courtesy wikicommons

What Can You Use Jicama For?

Jicama is very popular in Vietnamese dishes.

You can use jicama in stir-fry. The nice thing about jicama is that it does not have an overpowering taste.

Jicama does not get soggy.

You can peel it and eat it raw or sprinkle with salt, lime or lemon.

Jicama is also great as part of a salsa melody to go with fish.

You can also chop finely and add to fish tacos along with purple and green cabbage along with some tomatillos.

You can store jicama at 50-60 degrees for 1-2 months.

To prepare jicama when ready to use, simply wash, peel like a potato and slice into whatever size you want.

Jicama is high in carbs on paper but the carbs are all fiber - roughly about 6 grams.

There is zero fat in jicama and it is extremely low in sodium.

One cup of jicama is a cool 45 calories.

You can also make jicama pickles that are fabulous.

There is also a jicama diet that is famous for weight loss!

TIP:  Use jicama anywhere you would use water chestnuts!

Summing It Up

In the case of jicama, looks aren't everything! This rather ugly root vegetable is really quite a treasure to add to one's culinary basics arsenal as it is versatile and healthy. 

It also has some very unique properties such as never browning and never becoming soggy that make it an ideal candidate for many and various kinds of recipes!

If you have never tried jicama, give it a try as you would be surprised what this delightful little vegetable tastes like. 


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    • PiaC profile image

      PiaC 6 years ago from Oakland, CA

      I love Jicama! In India, you almost always eat it raw. They are delicious!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 6 years ago from Washington

      KDupree - Thanks so much for stopping by~

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for commenting, Austinstar - it is great in place of water chestnuts - and better for you!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I love jicama! They do carry it at my local grocer, and when I remember, I buy some. It's hard to peel, but worth it. It does sort of taste like a pear/potato/apple - sweet, but not too sweet, very crunchy and wonderful raw. In fact, I don't think I've ever had it cooked!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Hello, hello - Hopefully one will be coming to a supermarket near you soon!

      Lady G - thanks for reading - now you know!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      I clicked on the by accident and learned something new. Interesting and I have never heard of this vegetable.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I have never heard of it or seen in England. May the missionaries are getting a bit slow.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Maybe senorita....we have it though surprisingly! You would think maybe they thought it was something a romantic guy left on your neck in these parts...a HICKEY MA....I think I'm tired!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I looked for some of this a while back and couldn't find any. Prolly need to go to the Mexican market.