Here’s another unusual plant that produces an unusual food. To complete the trifecta of strangeness, it has a weird name to go along with it--jicama (the “j'' is pronounced like an “h”, like the “j” in “jalapeno”).
One of the main producers of this food is Mexico, and in fact the jicama is sometimes called Mexican potato. This nickname is also due to the appearance of the mature jicamas, which are tubers that have an outer brownish colored skin and are white on the inside like the interior flesh of potatoes.
The above-ground part of the jicama plant is a leafy vine that can reach 12 to 15 feet in length. The vine produces bluish-white blooms that become bean pods very similar in appearance to the seed pods of other beans or peas.
No part of the leaves, vines, or bean pods can be consumed.
Jicama plants need several months of frost free weather in order to produce market size underground tubers. For this reason, the plants are grown mainly in the tropical or sub-tropical climates.
In terms of preparing the food for consumption, simplicity is the key.
Begin by washing and peeling away the skin. After that, the jicama can be cut into strips or wedges and consumed raw with other similar textured foods such as carrots or radishes. In other words, good on a veggie tray with an assortment of dips to add flavor.
The jicama itself doesn’t have its own distinctive flavor and is similar in appearance, taste, and crunchiness to potatoes.
The chopped or shredded jicama can also be added into salads, the texture and appearance resembling that of the cabbage in coleslaw.
It's also useful when cooked into stir-fried dishes with other vegetables, or added into soups with proper spices being introduced for flavoring. Good, too, cooked as a side dish with fish or other meats.
In terms of nutrition, jicama is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition, it provides an ample dose of Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and phosphorus.