Monday, July 16, 2012

A Failed Adventure in Eating Clean: Jicama

Eating clean isn't about eating every scrap of food off your dinner plate; it's about eating as close to the food source as possible. Fig Newtons, for example, are healthy but not clean. The cleanest fig food would be the fig itself, followed by fig preserves.

Since summer started, I have been trying to eat clean and to serve "clean food" to our family. Tonight's dinner salad met with a thumbs down from both my husband and our 12-year-old. The problem? Jicama.

Also known as a Mexican Yam or a Mexican Turnip, jicama's tuberous root is edible. I really was hoping our family would like it.  Dr. Oz, the cardiac surgeon turned TV celebrity, lists jicama on his Longevity Grocery List.  It's high in potassium, which reduces blood pressure.

I made a watermelon and jicama salad from a recipe by Food Network Star Bobby Flay. The reviews were glowing: "Amazing! Like sunshine and happiness mixed in a bowl," gushed one cook. I was so hopeful. Look at this photo from the Food Network's website.

I nibbled a bit of jicama chunks (I couldn't get them to cut so neatly into those "matchsticks") as I waited for my husband to come home from work. Hmmm... the jicama was pretty tasteless. Kind of like watercress. Surely Flay's recipe, which includes orange juice, lime juice and honey, would make it flavorful. 

During dinner, I tried to make sure I had watermelon mixed in with the jicama on each forkful so its flavor wouldn't overwhelm me. I noticed my husband had pushed all the jicama slices to the side of his plate and was just eating the watermelon. 

I looked over at my son. 

"This tastes like dirt," he said. He should know. He's ingested plenty of dirt as a middle school baseball catcher.

Three strikes. This so-called wonder vegetable is out.


  1. Hmm. Jicama generally doesn't have strong flavor. Was it fresh? Maybe too big, so that it was tough? Try it again in a salad with more ingredients. This may have been too much of a new thing.

    1. Thanks Michelle! Do you have any favorite recipes?

  2. When I had it out (at both Sweet Tomatoes and Souper Salad), it was tasty - slightly sweet, very mild. I think it was shredded using a grater - at least, that would be my first guess.

    The one time I bought it, though, I had trouble getting the outer skin off and cutting it.

    1. I think I will grate it if I try it again. I also think this recipe had TOO much jicama in it; the ratio was about 1:1.

  3. I love Jicama. I peel it and eat it like an apple. If it is not sweet I dip it in salt. It's thirst quencher,yummy and crunchy.

  4. I first tasted it in California and it was almost as sweet as an apple. I've bought it once or twice at the grocery, though, with no luck. Not sure how to pick a good, fresh jicama.

    This is Sandy C. I haven't commented in ages because I can't hit my Google sign in to work. Pardon the "anonymous" tag.

  5. I know nothing about Jicama. Had to LOL at the dirt comment, though!