Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for Jicama

JicamaYou might be surprised to know that Jicama is part of the bean family although we only eat the root. The Jicama grows like a vine and has pods which are not eaten. It is also known as the Mexican Bean or Yam. The heaviest root ever found weighed 23 lbs and was found in the Phillipines. The flavour is sweet and starchy somewhat like potatoes and can be eaten cooked or raw, often used with a dip. The rest of the plant is highly toxic which makes one wonder how anyone found you could eat the root. I am guessing the flavour would be intensified the fresher the source of the tuber. I tried one once and couldn’t taste a whole lot. The Spaniards must have liked it as they took it with them and it has spread to Asia. It is a pretty healthy food according to info on Wiki.

One of the most popular things to do with Jicama is dice it up and add to salads.  In this recipe they prepare it with Cactus which I love and used to buy in jars when I visited the States.  I am not sure where one would get the cactus seeds either. For me I might well have to go to Toronto for such items.



Cactus-Jicama SaladCactus Jicama Salad

Fruits and Veggies: More Matters
Always wanted to find a way to prepare cactus? This salad is a unique way to use this delicacy!

  • 2 cups cactus pod, chopped
  • 1 medium jicama, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled, sectioned, and sliced
  • 10 cilantro stems with leaves, chopped
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Seeds from cactus pear fruit
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
Mix the cactus, jicama, orange, and cilantro. Combine vinegar, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pour over cactus mixture. Add several seeds from the cactus pear and serve.
Serves: 4

Have a great weekend
Jo_thumb[2]



41 comments:

  1. I have a recipe someplace from a jicama salad I made in my culinary classes. I remember enjoying it, but have never made it since then.

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    1. I would be interested in that recipe Denise.

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    2. Right. If I ever come across the recipe in my arsenal of paper, I'll send it on to you.

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    3. Do you not use a cook book programme? Makes it so much easier.

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  2. I've heard of jicama but I never knew what it was. You're right though...how did people find out they could eat the bottom but not the top? That's some serious trial and error.

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    1. From what I have read, the ancient peoples would taste a tiny piece of a leaf and if it stung their tongue they knew it was poisonous. If it didn't they would try a larger piece and see what happened during the day. But if a plant is poisonous, why would you dig up and try the root?

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  3. Hi Jo - I've never eaten either of those .. I've had prickly pears though ...

    I guess - it was trial and error .. but also they'd watch the birds and animals and see what they ate ... in the early days the Herbalists did the tastings and they'd know and work out what was possible .. from their verbal knowledge on the road ...

    It is interesting to think who'd have tasted oysters first, or olives ... or Jicama .. cheers Hilary

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    1. That applies to so many of the things we eat doesn't it? The Clan of the Cave Bear has good descriptions of people tasting plants as they migrated.

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  4. My youngest daughter loves Jicama. She'll put it in the cart at the grocery store.

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    1. I guess I should try it again - in a salad.

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  5. I guess they just kept trying parts of it until someone didn't die.

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    1. I understand they were clever enough to try tongue testing a plant first rather than ingesting the whole thing.

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  6. Ha ha what Alex said! It looks very pretty, and I didn't know any of that about the Jicama. Your blog is so informative!
    Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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  7. Jicama is a new veg to me. Could handle that salad though.

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    1. Wonder if it's available in England.

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  8. Never heard of Jicama. I try to eat beans every day though. I will add this one to my list. Healthy and yum.

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    1. No Sandra, the bean part is not edible, in fact it's highly toxic. The root, as shown in the picture, is what is eaten.

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  9. I never heard of this unless it is another name for Yam (That's what you meant right??) I am not a yam person. We never have it in salads, only cooked. I wonder how they knew it was good to eat? Maybe the poor guys at the bottom would try and die until they came to the actual root, then the king could eat it:)

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    1. No Birgit it is definitely not a yam. Quite a different veg. I don't know where you live, but in Ontario we definitely have them in our grocery stores

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    2. Hmmm I should look for them

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  10. I never had cactus and never heard of jicama. I think I would like to try it.

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    1. As I said, I love cactus, but I wasn't overly impressed with jicama. I will have to try it again.

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  11. My mom years ago read about jicama, bought some for salads like you said, really liked it; haven't had it in a few years though....might reintroduce that back into our foods.

    betty

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    1. It does give a good crunchiness to salads. It's supposed to be a good food to eat

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  12. It looks like a very tasty, powerful combination of anti oxidents

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    1. The salad looks delicious doesn't it?

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  13. I never knew that you could eat cactus. Sorry you weren't a fan of the jicama root, though it does make a lovely presentation.

    Julie

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    1. Not all cactus Julie. I love the cactus -nopales - that I have eaten. See my N.

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  14. I've tried jicama, but won't be sending it a Christmas card.

    I, too, have always wondered how *they* figured out what was safe and not safe to eat... surely we owe thanks to many who've eaten their way into the lost annals of culinary history.

    Seriously, a pineapple? One look at that thing and I would have chucked it back on the ground... but someone figured out how to eat the fruit.

    Amazing... :)

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    1. As you say Mark, it is amazing. Have you ever read The Clan of the Cave Bear, it gave an interesting slant on trying new plants etc.

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  15. I learn a lot from reading your blog Jo. The Australian Aborigines knew which part of plants to eat and even worked out how to cook poisonous plants in certain ways to make them edible. They were here for roughly 80 000 years before Europeans so I guess they had a bit of time to work it out.

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    1. I would guess they did have time. Interesting they figured out how to cook poisonous plants to render them harmless. Bit like the Japanese and fugu. Over here one tends to forget the Aboriginals and the Maoris too. Of course the Indians may have figure out similar things. Not something I had ever thought of. They certainly discovered Maple Syrup.

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  16. I've never tried jicama, but it has long intrigued me. Not sure where I could get some since stores in our rural area tend to stick to more well known things.

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    1. I guess you would have to go to a large town to find it.

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  17. It is a tough little plant to work with, have a sharp knife or peeler. But it does have crunch and can be used in different ways. I think the ingredients in the recipe are very healthy. I think previous peoples were extremely observant to everything around them, food sources, weather,etc. much more than we are.

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  18. I think you are right Natasha, I was interested in the comments made above by Pinky with reference to the Australian Aboriginals.

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  19. I've only ever eaten it raw. Until recently, I didn't even know you could cook the stuff. I don't need dip, just cut it up and snack away.

    Gina, I'm #1255 today, blogging at Book Dragon's Lair

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