Try something new: Jicama

Try something new: Jicama image
Jicama is an easy new food to try.

One of the best parts of real food today is the availability of strange foods, especially in the produce department. Jicama caught my attention many years ago, because I am a Canadian in love with Mexican food. For all the diversity in people and corresponding access to ethnic food, we are starved for good Mexican cuisine. If you want to eat authentic Mexican food, you must create it yourself. Jicama is a constant star in Mexican cookbooks.

Jicama with lime and cayenne image
Jicama with lime and cayenne (or chili powder)

One of the easiest, and consistently popular ways I have served jicama, is simply sliced (I prefer a french-fry shape) sprinkled with lime and cayenne or chili powder. Put this on the table as an appetizer for a Mexican feast and watch with wonder as people who have never heard of this strange vegetable, even when they are not adventurous eaters, empty the dish in minutes. Kids love it, though chili powder is a better choice than cayenne for nervous diners or children.

The recipe is easy, but peeling a Jicama can be a challenge. The peel is tough. I’ve tried many ways to remove the peel, but the most effective is an old tip I learned from my Mom for peeling tough rutabagas. Slice the Jicama before peeling. Use a sharp, large, non-serrated knife to cut slices from the whole.

Run a smaller knife around the outer edge of each slice to remove the peel. Now cut into your desired final shape, or grate the slices.

If you do not require the full jicama, you can slice off only what you require, and store the rest in the fridge, uncovered, until you need it again. Slice a tiny bit from the exposed edge and continue as described here.

Tip: By nature, a jicama is wobbly. If it will not sit firmly on your cutting board, start by cutting a thin slice from the bottom to provide a solid base. You are using a fair amount of pressure to cut the slices, and for safety, you want the jicama to be stable.

Slicing a jicama before peeling image
Jicama sliced before peeling with a large, sharp knife

Peeling jicama slices image
Peeling jicama slices with a small knife.

 

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