Origin: hot, humid tropical Central America
Plant: Sept – Oct
Harvest: July – Aug.
It takes 4-7 months to maturity depending on day-length hours. At the time of maturity, the vines will flower and produce many inedible pods (the flowers are also inedible)
– the mature seed contains the poison, rotenone, used as an insecticide. Jicama’s starchy underground tuber is highly digestible and can be eaten raw or cooked, as there are no toxins associated with the tuber. Jicama can be eaten raw – sliced into sticks and used as a crudité, dipped into raw chilli powder then dipped in lime juice. It can also be used grated in salads mixed with tropical fruits and a handful of coriander leaves. The tuber can also be lightly cooked after peeling, slicing and dicing – it tends to retain its crispness when cooked and is often used in stir fries as a substitute for water chestnut.
The dried vines are very strong and can be woven into fishing nets.