Jicama is my new favorite snack food. Cut like french fries, this crisp root vegetable is just sweet enough to be addictive, and without all the grease.
It may not look or taste like it, but jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus) is a member of the bean family. It grows on vines, mostly in Central America, the Caribbean, Southern Asia, and in the Andes. Also known as yambean and Mexican turnip, jicama leaves, stems, and skin contain toxins that should not be eaten. Once you get inside, however, the flesh is delicious and versatile. Jicama can be added to salads, soups, stir-fry, and it goes equally well with fruits as it does with vegetables. While low in calories, jicama high in insoluble fiber and Vitamin C. It also contains inulin, which a form of plant sugar (fructan) that promotes calcium absorption and good gut bacteria. So let’s get growing!
How to grow jicama
Jicama prefers short days and high temperatures, so you may have to plant your jicama in a location where it receives afternoon shade (or make your own) to trick it into thinking the day is shorter than it really is. Like peppers, jicama seeds need warmth to germinate. Seeds should be soaked in warm water for 24 hours before planting 1/4 to 2 inches deep. You can wait until temperatures rise, or use can use seed heat mats to speed germination. Jicama performs better in alkaline soil. To get well shaped roots, the soil must be loose and nutrient-rich, making it a good choice for raised beds. As blue or white flowers appear, they should be removed by hand to stimulate root development.
Have you ever grown jicama? Let us know in the comments section!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!