Jicama has a crunchy texture and a milder flavor than radishes. The tuber-like vegetable, which is a cousin of the bean family, originated from Central America, notably Mexico.
It grows similar to a potato, with fast-growing vines instead of erect leaves. The plant is inedible except for the tuber, which is the potato.
— Jicama (Pachyrrhizus erosus) is a plant in the legume family whoseroot is edible. The plant is also known by its Greek name, “thickroot.” Jicama belongs to the Fabaceae group of plants, which includes beans, peanuts, and licorice. Yam bean stem is also known as sweetened turnip, Mexican turnip, or Mexican potato, among other names.
In addition to being called jicama in English, this root vegetable is also known as kuzuimo in Japanese, dolique tubereaux or pais patate in French, and sankalu in India. The root of the African yam bean plant is edible, as are the seeds. Do not confuse it with a plant of the same name that is not edible.
Jicama is a root vegetable that has long been cultivated in Mexico and Central and South American nations. However, its origins are unknown. The yam bean is also grown in the Indies and was brought to the Philippines by Spaniards in the past centuries. It became a prominent ingredient in Asian cuisine, typically used as a replacement for water chestnuts or bamboo shoots.
The jicama is a vegetable that has brownish skin and pale flesh. It is similar to the potato in appearance. Jicama is a tasty, sweet, nutty-flavored vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s cousin, however, can only be eaten cooked.
Jicama, which has a similar texture and taste to a water chestnut, will still be crisp after boiling. The fruit known as a “crab apple” is popular in many recipes and is eaten raw as a crunchy snack that tastes like an apple. Its taste has been compared to watermelon by some.
Jicama is mostly cultivated in Mexico, with smaller scale farming in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Though jicama is at its peak in the late autumn, it is available year-round due to shipments from Mexico to Central America.
Jicama is a root vegetable that comes in two main varieties: Jicama de agua and Jicama de leche. The two varieties are distinguished by the fluid inside the vegetable. Jicama is a type of root vegetable that is popular in the United States. It has a large, spherical root that resembles a turnip.
This second type of milk root has longer, knob-shaped roots and white juice.
Is it difficult to cultivate jicama? This answer depends on the location where the plant is grown. It does well in hot climates and takes a long time to grow.
A jicama plant needs 150 days to grow and produce tubers. This means it is not good for areas where the growing season is short. The plants thrive when they are in garden beds, elevated beds, or containers.
Prerequisites for Sun Exposure
Jicama is a Mexican plant that grows best in direct sunlight. The amount of sunlight jicama plants get is important because they are light-sensitive, like potatoes.
If you plant at an incorrect time, your harvest will be small. You must protect jicama plants from frost damage to ensure a successful harvest.
Requirements of the Soil
Choose a spot with good drainage, rich nutrients, and a pH of 7.0 or higher. If you want this crop to do well, you should add some nutrient-rich, well-rotted manure to the ground before planting.
Seeds for Planting
Jicama seedlings are unlikely to be available for purchase. Therefore, you’ll have to start from seeds or tubers.
To ensure that your seedlings are well established before the last frost of the season, start them a minimum of 8 to 10 weeks in advance. Jicama seeds need hot soil to germinate, so using a heating pad can help.
Seeds can be directly planted in the springtime, or all year round if there is no risk of a frost in warmer climates. Soaking the seeds may help them germinate more quickly.
Tubers in the Ground
If you keep the roots from the current growing season in the soil, they will sprout again next spring.
Give your plants a week to adjust to the new environment before planting them. It is safe to plant Jicama once the chance of frost has passed and the soil temperature has reached 50°F.
Support and Spacing
Members of the Jicama family should be planted at least 8 to 10 inches apart. The creeping vine plant needs support, or it will topple over. To keep the vines under control, you’ll need to build some sort of support structure.
Feel free to let the plant grow and spread out over the ground. Give them 24-inch spacing between plants in that scenario.
Sun and Temperature
Jicama needs direct sunlight for at least 8 hours per day to grow. This plant does well in areas with hot weather and high humidity. You can invert a bowl over your jicama at night to protect it from cooler weather. However, if the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your jicama plants will not thrive.
Water and Humidity
Jicama doesn’t tolerate drought well, so it needs to be watered regularly to grow. Each plant should receive at least 2 inches of water per week as they grow larger. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water your plants in the morning near the base to get the best results. If it’s hot and dry where you live, you might have to water your plants more often than people who live in more humid areas with more rainfall.
The best type of soil for planting jicama is sandy loam soil that has good drainage but will also stay moist. If you try to grow jicama in poor soil, it will not be successful because this plant needs lots of nutrients and organic matter to do well. The optimal pH for jicama cultivation is 6.5 to 8.0. If your soil is not ideal for gardening, you can try planting in a raised bed or container garden.
Jicama is a legume, so it doesn’t need high-nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizing too much will result in lush leaves, but insufficient tuber growth. This will help to ensure that your plants remain healthy and produce a large crop. Fertilize your soil with a high-potassium and phosphorus fertilizer at least twice during the long growing season to keep your plants healthy and help them produce a large crop.
The most beneficial type of pruning for jicama plants is maintenance pruning. This involves trimming the vine to keep it from spreading throughout your garden, as well as removing flowers to allow the plant to divert more energy to the roots rather than the flowers that are blooming.
The only way to grow jicama is from seeds. We cannot use the tubers of this plant to produce a new one, even though they are similar to potato tubers. After soaking your jicama seeds overnight in warm water, germination rates will be increased. It can take up to 20 days for jicama seeds to germinate, even when conditions are ideal. The temperature of the soil should be between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit when planting jicama.
This means that you can start planting your seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last possible day that frost could occur in your area. You will need a heat mat and grow light to ensure that your seeds germinate and grow properly during this period. Plant jicama seedlings outdoors 10 inches apart, with at least 4 feet between rows. Plant your seeds one inch deep in the ground, spacing them six inches apart. After the seeds have germinated, thin the plants so that they are 10 to 12 inches apart.
Harvesting and Storing
It is important to know how to correctly harvest and store jicama so it will stay fresh after spending time and effort growing it. How would you like to learn about harvesting and storing jicama? This way, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor!
The jicama plant can take a long time to mature, so you need to be patient when harvesting or you could end up with tiny tubers. Each plant yields an average of 4 to 5 tubers, each weighing 2 to 5 pounds.
The lettuce will continue to grow if you leave it in the ground and live in a warm climate. However, the larger tubers lack flavor and can become tough and woody. The optimum size for a diameter is 3-6 inches. In cooler climates, you will need to harvest before the first frost, or when the vine turns yellow or dies back.
You should stop watering the plant two weeks before you plan to harvest the tubers. This will allow the tubers to cure and help them to last longer. They can also be stored immediately after harvest.
To find the roots of the plant, follow the stem to the ground and use a small tool to dig around each root. After you have removed the tuber from the soil, cut off each vine. Dust off each one to prepare for storage. Make sure you save some to eat fresh in a stir fry or sprinkle them with chili and lime for a yummy snack!
After you have finished gathering your crops, cut up the plant stems and leaves and add them to your compost pile. We recommend removing all seed pods and using a hot-compost process to make sure all toxins decompose adequately. This will help to create a more hospitable environment for your plants.
Properly stored jicama will last up to two months. Ideally, you should store your extra bulbs in a place that is cool and dark, with a temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not place the fresh jicama tuber in the fridge because it will spoil.
Do you have a cool area to store the tubers? There are other options to store this root long term. You can eat jicama in many different ways. You can slice it into chips and dehydrate it, freeze it, or find a simple recipe and pickle the jicama.
Jicama is a hardy plant that does not often succumb to pests, diseases, or other problems. The following section provides an overview of potential problems and corresponding solutions.
Some potential problems that could affect your jicama are: – too much or too little water – not enough nutrients in the soil – pests – diseases The first is related to water. This was mentioned before in the section about growth, but it is worth mentioning again. Jicama plants need a lot of water, but too much water can be harmful. Make sure to keep the soil moist, but not too wet, and plant it in soil that drains well.
Jicama prefers warm climates and cannot tolerate cold or frost. If you live in a cooler climate, you can still grow this plant by modifying your growing season or planting it in a container. This way, you can move the plant to a warmer area when needed, such as a greenhouse or sunroom.
This plant is a natural insecticide, so you don’t have to worry about pests. Although you may not see them often, weevils can be a problem. If weevils are left to their own devices, they can cause damage. You can deter weevils from climbing onto jicama by spreading diatomaceous earth on top of the mulch at the base of the plant. Pyrethrin, a natural insecticide made from dried chrysanthemum flowers, kills adult weevil.
Pyrethrin is also effective against a number of other pests, such as aphids. Aphids are susceptible to Pyrethrin and will often die when they come in contact with it. While aphids don’t prefer jicama over other species, they will still happily suck the sap from it. They can also spread diseases, such as the mosaic virus.
Root rot is a fungal disease that can cause the roots to become sunken, deformed, and hinder the growth of the vine. To avoid this issue, water your jicama sparingly and make sure your seedlings are planted in soil that drains well.
Aphids transmit the mosaic virus, which causes the leaves to discolor and develop a bluish-green pattern. If it continues unchecked, eventually it will kill plants entirely as leaves drop. The only treatment is preventing its spread. If your plant contracts the virus, get rid of it immediately by taking it out of the garden and destroying the plant.
The Best and Worst Plants to Accompany Jicama
If you want to avoid the problem of the plant’s vines interfering with other crops in your garden, you should grow it by itself, away from other plants. One seed manufacturer recommends growing jicama alongside maize as a partner and support structure.
Other great choices for plants to grow with bean plants include sunflowers, ginger, and cilantro.
Keep the Jicama plant away from potatoes and tomatoes.
Jicama’s Health Benefits
- Jicama is a root vegetable that is particularly low in calories. It barely has 35 calories per 100 grams. Despite this, it has a high-quality phytonutrient profile that includes dietary fiber and antioxidants, as well as minor amounts of minerals and vitamins.
- It is one of the best sources of dietary fiber, with a high concentration of soluble dietary fiber oligofructose inulin. The root pulp contains 4.9 mg of fiber or 13% of the total. Inulin is a delicious inert carbohydrate with no calories. Jicama is a perfect sweet snack for patients with diabetes and dieters because it does not experience metabolic within the human body.
- Fresh yam bean tubers, like turnips, are high in vitamin C, with around 20.2 mg (or 34 percent of DRA) per 100 g. Vitamin C is a potent water-soluble antioxidant that aids the body in scavenging damaging free radicals, protecting against cancer, inflammation, and infectious cough and cold.
- It also includes trace amounts of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and thiamin, all of which are important B-complex vitamins.
- The root also contains beneficial levels of vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.