I was in the store the other day and I happened upon a display of ‘new crop jicama’. I don’t usually get excited over jicama; it is crunchy and refreshing on a raw veggie tray, and it’s a great vehicle for getting dip into my mouth, but that is about it. I see it in the produce department all the time and I seldom take a second look… that is, of course, unless it is ‘new crop’. The difference between ‘old crop’ and ‘new crop’ is akin to the difference between canned and fresh or between a ‘hit’ and a ‘miss’. The way to tell the difference is by the skin. Fresh new crop jicama is light in color and the skin is thin and papery. Older jicama (from storage) is darker and thicker skinned. If you find some new jicama you will want to use it right away as I’ve noticed that the fresh jicama doesn’t keep as long. This inevitably leads me to wonder just how new crop jicama gets to become old crop jicama, but I digress. In any case, the difference between old and new is like night and day, and if you have never tried it you will find the new to be sweeter, crunchier, and juicier. When I see it, I am often inspired to get some and make one of my favorite hot weather salads. This dish is always well received. It is very refreshing on a hot day as its delightfully cool and crunchy and has just the right balance of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. The measurements in this recipe are just a guideline; you really need to taste it often and adjust to your own taste. You can make it the day before, and it just gets better. The only tip I would suggest is that if you are going to make it in advance leave out the cilantro until just before serving so that is stays ‘bright’. This recipe makes a large salad, enough for a good-sized group so you may want to cut it in half.
- 2 lbs jicama (before cleaning), cut into ¼ inch strips
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
- Juice of about 3 limes
- Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Red pepper flakes
- This is so easy! Just add everything to a large bowl and toss. Keep tasting to get the right balance of sweet, salty, sour, and hot. Sometimes I add a little red chili powder, but I will leave that one up to you.