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Monday, April 16, 2012

Your Seasonal Produce Guide: Jicama

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM

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SFoodie's series on what to do with your farmers' market impulse buys and CSA box surprises.

Jicama is a large, unattractive root vegetable with a thick, brown skin. The white flesh is crunchy and slightly sweet. The flavor and texture can be described as cross between an apple and a water chestnut. First used by the Latin Americans, jicama was brought to the Phillippines by the Spanish during the 17th century and spread throughout Southeast Asia.

How do I buy it? Small to medium-sized jicama are best. Larger ones are less flavorful and can become fibrous or woody. Dark marks on the skin are okay, but avoid soft spots -- an indication of rotting.

How do I eat it? Cut into quarters using a sharp, heavy knife. Remove the tough, outer skin with a paring knife. Slice or cube and eat raw. Grate or chop and add into a salad or salsa. To prepare an easy jicama salsa: dice into small pieces, combine with fresh lime juice, minced jalapeno, cilantro and salt. Serve over top of pork carnitas tacos.

Marla Simon is a chef instructor, food stylist, and food writer. Follow her on twitter at @Marla_Simon. Follow us at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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