Pachyrhizus erosus seed
Jicama pachyrhizus erosus
Yam Bean Mexican Potato
Species: P. erosus
Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as Jícama (/ˈhɪkəmə/; Spanish pronunciation: [ˈxikama]; from Nahuatl xicamatl, [ʃiˈkamatɬ]), Mexican Yam, or Mexican Turnip, is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant’s edible tuberous root. Jícama is a species in the genus Pachyrhizus in the bean family (Fabaceae). Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term “yam bean” can be another name for jícama. The other major species of yam beans are also indigenous within the Americas.
Flowers, either blue or white, and pods similar to lima beans are produced on fully developed plants. There are several species of jicama, but the one found in [many] markets is Pachyrrizus erosus. There are two cultivated forms P. erosus: jicama de agua and jicama de leche. The latter has an elongated root and milky juice. The agua form has a top-shaped to oblate root, a translucent juice, and is the preferred form for market.
The jícama vine can reach a height of 4–5 metres given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths of up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kg. The heaviest jícama root ever recorded weighed 23 kg and was found in 2010 in the Philippines (where they are called ‘singkamas’).
Pachyrhizus erosus, is also known as Mexican Yam, or Mexican Turnip is a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant’s edible tuberous root. Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term “yam bean” can be another name for jícama. There are many names for Jicama including: the Mexican potato, ahipa, saa got,turnip, lo bok, and the Chinese potato. (In Ecuador and Peru the name “jicama” is used for the unrelated Yacón or Peruvian ground apple, a plant of the Sunflower family whose tubers are also used as food).
Jicama is frost tender and requires 9 months frost free for a good harvest of large tubers or to grow it commercially. It is worth growing in cooler areas that have at least 5 months frost free as it will still produce tubers, but they will be smaller. Warm Temperate areas, that have at least 5 months of frost free weather can start
The root’s exterior is yellow and papery, while its inside is creamy white with a crisp texture that resembles raw potato or pear. The flavor is sweet and starchy, reminiscent of some apples or raw green beans, and it is usually eaten raw, sometimes with salt, lemon, or lime juice and chili powder. It is also cooked in soups and stir-fried dishes. Jícama is often paired with chili powder, cilantro, ginger, lemon, lime, oranges, red onion, salsa, sesame oil, grilled fish and soy sauce.It can be cut into thin wedges and dipped in salsa. In Mexico, it is popular in salads, fresh fruit combos, fruit bars, soups, and other cooked dishes. In contrast to the root, the remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous; the seeds contain the toxin rotenone, which is used to poison insects and fish.Spread to Asia
Spaniards spread cultivation of jícama from Mexico to Philippines, from there it went to and other parts of Southeast Asia, where notable uses of raw jícama include popiah, fresh “lumpia” in the Philippines and salads in Singapore and Malaysia such as yusheng and rojak.
In the Philippines, jícama is known locally as singkamas and usually eaten fresh with condiments sucha as rice vinegar and sprinkled with salt, or with bagoong (shrimp paste).
Jícama has become popular in Vietnamese food as an ingredient in pie, where it is called cây củ đậu (in northern Vietnam) or củ sắn or sắn nước (in southern Vietnam). It is known by its Chinese name bang kuang to the ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia. In Mandarin Chinese, it is known as dòushǔ or liáng shǔ , as sa1 got3 (same as “turnip”) in Yue Chinese/Cantonese, and as bông-kong in Teochew, where the word is borrowed from the Malay, and as dìguā in Guizhou province and several neighboring provinces of China, the latter term being shared with sweet potatoes.
In Japanese it is known as (kuzu-imo). The Thai name is มันแกว (man kaeo). In Bengali, it is known as shankhalu, literally translating to “conch (shankha) potato (alu)” for its shape, size and colour. In Hindi it is known as mishrikand (मिश्रीकंद). In Telugu it is known as kandha. It is eaten during fast (उपवास) in Bihar (India) and is known as “kesaur” (केसौर). In Malay it is known by the name ubi sengkuang.
In Laos, it is called man pao. Here it is a lot smaller and tastes a little sweeter than the Mexican type. It is used as a snack by peeling off the outer layer of the skin, then cutting into bite sizes for eating like eating an apple or a pear.
In Indonesia, Jícama is known as bengkuang. This root crop is only known by people in Sumatra and Java. Mostly they eat it at fresh fruit bars or mix it in the rujak (a kind of spicy fruit salad). Padang city in West Sumatra is called “the city of bengkuang”. Local people might have thought that this jícama is the “indigenous crop” of Padang. The crop has been grown everywhere in this city and it has become a part of their culture.
Start seeds in a protected area that gets some direct sunlight for at least three hours each day.
Prepare a potting mix containing purchased planting soil, perlite or vermiculite, and a little peat moss.
Scatter seeds on top of your potting soil mix. Cover the seeds with ¼ inch of additional mix.
Water thoroughly and keep moist until your plants are about three inches tall.
Plan garden rows that are two to three feet apart.
Plant the young jicama plants 8 to 10 inches apart in the row.
Fertilize regularly with a 6-6-12 fertilizer, or apply generous applications of compost. This will encourage healthy growth.
For the best root production, remove flowers when you first see them appear. Doing this causes the root to expand in diameter.