Looking for a great alternative to potatoes or starchy root crops? Give jicama a try! Jicama is a type of yam bean plant with an edible tuberous root. This plant originated in Mexico and South Africa and is often used in cooking.
Jicama’s fleshy root is crunchy and mild in flavor, similar to turnips. Its exterior is light brown or gray. As for the flavor, this vegetable has a sweet, nutty flavor and a crispy texture. Its crispiness is retained even when the vegetable is cooked briefly. Jicama can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked in stews. The flavor is so mild; it will not alter the flavor of the dish.
Image used under Creative Commons from spiralmushroom
Jicama is widely available in the US but you can buy this root crop in bulk. But can you freeze jicama? Jicama does surprisingly well in the freezer, unlike regular starchy roots! Fresh, uncut tubers will keep fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks. As long as you do not cut the vegetable into pieces, there’s no need to wrap jicama in tin foil or cling wrap to retain its freshness in the fridge.
However, once it is cut, you have to prep the vegetable prior to freezing. Although its root is crisp and white, it could turn soggy and yellowish once it’s left exposed to cold temperature. Exposure to moisture could also alter the flavor of jicama. It could even absorb fridge flavors when it’s not packed properly.
You can freeze jicama but this will change the texture of the root crop unless it’s frozen whole and uncut. If it’s cut, you can still freeze it but it will take on a softer texture once it’s been defrosted. Frozen jicamas could keep fresh in the freezer for up to 4 to 6 months.
Image used under Creative Commons from Forest and Kim Starr
One thing to keep in mind when wondering if can you freeze jicama is the moisture level of the vegetable prior to storage.
Jicama is extremely sensitive to moisture and once exposed to it, decay, discoloration, and texture loss will set in. As such, you need to keep the product as dry as possible prior to freezing. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze jicama.
Freezing Fresh Jicama
If you are simply chilling whole jicamas in the fridge, there’s no need to add protective wrapping as long as you plan to consume the root crops right away. But if you’re freezing whole jicamas, you will still need a protective wrapping to protect them from freezer burn or moisture loss. Before freezing, wrap each jicama in aluminum foil then stick them in the freezer.
Freezing Cut Jicama
For cut or shredded jicamas, use an airtight rigid plastic container to store the vegetables in the freezer. Start by patting the jicamas with a clean cloth or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. You want the jicamas to be dry to the touch before freezing.
Once the jicamas are dry, place them in a plastic container and close the airtight lid. Do not overfill the container so the jicamas will freeze without bruising. Get a marker to add the storage date and label before sticking in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Eliazar Parra Cardenas
To defrost jicama, simply transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the frozen jicama to defrost overnight then, it is ready to use. Do note that defrosted jicamas must be consumed right away because the changes in temperature will turn the tuber soggy.
Jicamas make a great ingredient for healthy dishes including and salads, barbecues. Now that you know how can you freeze jicama, you can store this diet-friendly tuber for future uses!