Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is a Jicama?

This was a question I posed to my husband last week? I needed a Jicama for a salad recipe I wanted to make for an upcoming dinner party. My husband is in a line of work that affords him opportunity to experience all food types; so, was able to answer. I placed Jicama on my grocery list and decided to learn more about this bulbous looking food. Here is what I discovered:

  • It is actually just that... a bulb and is part of the legume (bean) family.

  • It is primarily grown in Mexico and South America, though different varieties are grown throughout the world.

  • It has a crunchiness somewhat like a water chestnut.

  • Peeling it can be a pain. I learned that first hand as you will see in above picture. I tried to use a vegetable peeler. Not a good idea. The skin in tough and you will need a very sharp knife to peel away the outer skin.

  • It taste something like a cross between an apple and potato.

  • It is most commonly eaten raw though it can be cooked and eaten and prepared like you would potatoes.

  • It pairs well with salads and can be used as an appetizer for dipping. Just cut into strips and dip in a mango salsa. I noted that some suggest cutting and sprinkling with lime juice and chili powder. I even saw a picture where cookie cutters were used to cut out dipping shapes. Now that's a fun idea.

So how did I end up using this peculiar looking bulb? Below is the tropical black bean salad that I served this weekend for a dinner party. It was a hit and I loved the crunchy texture that the jicama added to the salad. By the way, the "J" is pronounced as "H"... hicama.

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