My love affair with Señor Jicama

It all started long ago, when I was little, and my parents kept making up all these funny words, like “gluten” and “hummus.”  My parents were creative!  One of those funny words I heard them say was “jicama.”  But I don’t recall ever trying any.  For years, I didn’t think about it much.  Then I moved to Arizona and learned that jicama was a funny looking brown tuber, sort of like a big round potato or turnip.  And it was always cheap, two pounds for a dollar usually. These days that’s a good price!

I asked around on the internet and found that jicama tastes a little like a water chestnut.

“I can eat a big water chestnut!” I thought. So I went to my local Food City, the place with the great deals and the good music from Mexico playing all the time. That’s  what the Food City in my area does all the time, anyway. I was wondering which one to buy when I had the bright idea to ask one of the friendly produce guys for advice.

“The rougher, the tougher,” he said, helping me select a couple nice, firm jicama. Then he asked how I was going to prepare it. I asked for suggestions. “Cut it up however you want, squeeze some lime, and then sprinkle on some taijin,” he said. “Do you like hot things?” I said I did, very much, and he told how they eat apples that way too in Mexico.

When I got home and tried it, I loved it! Paired with hummus dip, it was even better. It was indeed a bit like water chestnut, a bit like potato, but with a texture more like a crispy apple. The flavor is definitely enhanced by the lime, salt, and red pepper of the taijin powder. I also learned how to peel the jicama to avoid the possibility of belly ache. My
trusty ceramic vegetable peeler worked well, but the larger jicama were easier to peel by cutting off the top and removing the skin in big sheets, then cleaning up the last bits with the vegetable peeler.

I’m still seeing Señor Jicama and we are quite happy together.

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