Jicama is a tuber that can weigh up to 5 pounds. It has a mild, sweet texture similar to a water chestnut. When peeled, it adds a nice crunch to salads or is delicious as an appetizer served raw and sprinkled with lime juice and salt. In Mexico, they also add hot chilies with the lime and salt. Though jicama is often served raw, it can also be cooked; the flesh soften a bit but will stay fairly crisp and juicy. Select jicama that are heavy and firm with unblemished skin.


Other names: Singkamas, Mexican Turnip, Mexican Potato, Yam Bean
Translations: ヒカマ, Cây củ đậu, Джикама, Jícama, Джікама, Јицама, Jícama

Physical Description

Jicama is a crispy, sweet, edible root that resembles a turnip in physical appearance, although the plants are not related. Jicama has been cultivated in South America for centuries, and the vegetable is quite popular in Mexican cuisine. Jicama has a unique flavor that lends itself well to salads, salsas, and vegetable platters. The roots can sometimes grow to be quite large, although when they exceed the size of two fists, they begin to convert the sugars that give jicama its sweet flavor into starches, making the root somewhat woody to the taste.

Colors: gray, tan, or brown

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet
Mouthfeel: Crispy, Crunchy
Food complements: Lime, Salt, Chile
Wine complements: Grenache
Beverage complements: Limeade, Tequila, Sangria
Substitutes: Water chestnuts, Sunchokes, Turnips

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: When choosing jicama at the store, look for medium sized, firm tubers with dry roots. Do not purchase jicama that has wet or soft spots, which may indicate rot, and don't be drawn to overlarge examples of the tuber, because they may not be as flavorful
Buying: Any grocery store
Procuring: Jicama is actually a legume, and it grows on vines that may reach 20 feet (six meters) in length. The vines tend to hug the ground, terminating in tubers that may grow up to 50 pounds (22 kilograms) in size, although the majority of jicama roots sent to market are approximately three to four pounds (1.3-2 kilograms) in weight. Before eating, the coarse brown outer layer of the jicama should be peeled to reveal the white inside

Preparation and Use

Jicama is excellent raw and is sometimes eaten plain. It can also be used as a substitute for water chestnut in Chinese dishes, in which case it should be thrown in right before serving. Jicama also appears in stews, juiced drinks, stuffings, and a variety of other recipes. In addition to having a unique flavor and texture, jicama takes flavor well, making it well suited to culinary experimentation. Jicama is a great source of vitamin c and is fat free—making it a superb on-the-go snack.

Cleaning: Before eating, the coarse brown outer layer of the jicama should be peeled to reveal the white inside.

Conserving and Storing

Jicama will keep under refrigeration for up to two weeks.
Jícama 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.


In Indonesia, Jícama is known as bengkuang. This root crop is only known by people in Sumatra and Java. Mostly they eat it at fresh fruit bars or mix it in the rujak (a kind of spicy fruit salad). Padang city in West Sumatra is called "the city of bengkuang". Local people might have thought that this jícama is the "indigenous crop" of Padang. The crop has been grown everywhere in this city and it has become a part of their culture.

History: Jicama belongs to the legume or bean family (Fabaceae). It is a popular dietary staple in Latin America and widely grown in Mexico and Central America. There are many names for Jicama including: the Mexican potato, Mexican yam bean, ahipa, saa got, Chinese turnip, lo bok, and the Chinese potato.



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