Jicama, also known as singkamas in parts of South East Asia, is a crispy, crunchy, fresh, tasting turnip used in salads and as a refreshing snack. Jicama is a vine plant that produces tubers similar to potatoes and can be eaten in the same way as potatoes. It has pale brown skin covering a watery white vegetable packed with nutrients and vitamins. But does it last?
Did you know that Jicama has its own pest control? It has a chemical called rotenone. Insects hate it. But this humble vegetable packs a punch when it comes to being loaded with vitamins and minerals in huge proportions.
If you never tried Jicama, you are missing out. This article will let you know if Jicama can be stored and how long you can expect it to last. We answer many frequently asked questions for your benefit.
Let’s get into it.
Does Jicama expire?
Yes. However, there is good news and bad news.
If the climate is suitable and you grow Jicama at home, a freshly harvested Jicama will last for four to five months if stored correctly. Store-bought Jicama often has a shorter shelf life of around one month. This is due to time spent in transportation from farm to market and poor agriculture skills.
Jicama is primarily grown in South America and Mexico, where agriculture skills and equipment are lacking.
Yes, you read right, Jicama grows from beans. Jicama can be grown in the US. If you have a climate where frost can occur early in the growing season, you can start the Jicama indoors by planting the Jicama bean.
For longevity, if this root vegetable, the Jicama, should be stored dry, the roots cannot get wet, and they will perish faster if they do.
To maximize the life of Jicama, store them unwrapped in a cool, dry place, like the pantry. In these conditions, the Jicama lasts for four months plus.
You can store it in the refrigerator, but it must be dry. In the vegetable crisper, the Jicama will last around a month.
If the Jicama is cut, you will need to wrap it tightly in cling wrap, so it’s not exposed to humidity. If the fridge is cut, Jicama will last for approximately one week.
Cooked Jicama stored in an airtight container will last for three days in the fridge.
Does Jicama need to be refrigerated?
No, Jicama lasts better if it’s not refrigerated, but cut Jicama will need to be refrigerated and wrapped tightly in cling wrap.
Fresh Jicama should be stored in a cool, dry place like the pantry or even in a dry veg container. The best temperature to store Jicama is 55 to 60℉. Fresh Jicama will last for four to five months at this temperature compared to one month in the fridge.
Cooked Jicama should also be stored in the fridge to maximize its shelf life. Cooked Jicama stored in an airtight container will last for three days stored in the fridge.
Does covering Jicama make a difference?
Only cover cooked Jicama to extend its shelf life. If fresh Jicama has been cut, it should be wrapped tightly in cling wrap and stored in the fridge.
If your Jicama is still in its skin, do not cover it. Like all root vegetables, they like to be in a cool, dry space with airflow. Covering fresh Jicama would shorten the shelf life of the vegetable.
Can you put warm Jicama in the fridge?
No. Placing warm Jicama in the fridge will elevate its temperature while it radiates heat. Your fridge temperature will be 40℉ -18℃ or a little lower.
Your fridge may not be as efficient as you might have thought at removing heat. Most fridges take hours to come to 40℉ after being switched on after cleaning.
So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is that food sitting at a temperature of 40-140℉ is in the food danger zone. It’s not just your Jicama. It is the contents of the entire fridge.
Above 40℉-18℃ bacterial growth on perishable foods will accelerate exponentially. It should be discarded if the food remains at an elevated temperature above 40℉-18℃ for just two hours.
According to the USDA, after two hours in the food danger zone, perishable foods contain enough bacteria to cause food poisoning.
How long can Jicama sit out?
It depends. Raw Jicama can sit out for four months in a cool, dry space. If you have cooked Jicama or Jicama that has been prepared for salads or just a snack, the sitting out time reduces dramatically.
If your Jicama is sitting on the counter waiting to be served and is exposed to the air, the clock is ticking down fast before the Jicama is considered not edible.
According to the USDA, perishable foods sitting out have a life span of two hours. The food is sitting in the food danger zone of 40 to 140℉.
Between these temperatures, the growth of bacteria accelerates to exponential proportions rendering the food dangerous to consume after just two short hours.
If you do eat the food, it has the potential to cause food poisoning.
Don’t leave food sitting out. Place it in the fridge and bring it out when it’s required.
How long does Jicama last in the fridge?
Cooked Jicama will last for three days in the fridge if it’s stored in an airtight container. It will last for one week. If you have fresh Jicama that has been cut or sliced, it should be wrapped with cling wrap and placed in the fridge.
Keeping fresh Jicama in the fridge is unnecessary and will shorten the shelf life. Root veggies should be stored in a cool, dry place without light. Stored in the manner, the Jicama will last for four months and may be longer.
Does frozen Jicama go bad?
There is some controversy over the subject of freezing Jicama. Some say not that the ice crystal forms the vegetable and turns it slightly mushy, while others say yes, it can be frozen successfully.
But one thing is for sure, if you have a lot of Jicamas, it’s best to try and freeze them rather than throw them away!
This is a sure way for freezing Jicama to last up to a year so let’s find out how to store Jicama in the freezer.
Freezing the whole Jicama
- You want to avoid freezer burn at all costs. Make sure the Jicama is dry. Wrap in foil, and make sure there are no voids where moisture could settle.
- Place the foil-wrapped Jicama in a freezer bag and seal. Place in the freezer.
- Place the Jicama towards the back of the freezer. You can store the whole Jicama like this for 12 months. There is less potential for freezer burn in this area.
Freezing sliced peeled Jicama
Jicama can be quite a size, and you may have to knock these veggies down to size by slicing and dicing as needed.
- Once the Jicama is cut into manageable pieces, pat the Jicama down to remove surface moisture. Moisture in the freezer will damage the Jicama so pay attention to this step.
- Take a belt and braces approach to protect the Jicama. Place the Jicama slices into a sealable freezer bag, and remove as much of the air as possible from the bag. Place the freezer bags into an airtight container.
- Place in the freezer for up to 9 months.
Is Jicama healthy to eat?
Yes, it is packed with vitamins and minerals and has many claims to benefit your health. Here are a few examples of how good Jicama is to eat.
- Jicama boosts brain function.
- Promotes a healthy heart by removing plaque in the arteries.
- Boosts the immune system due to its antioxidants.
- It’s excellent for digestion.
- It is incredibly high in fiber to help with constipation.
- It is rich in potassium and magnesium, protecting your central nervous system and controlling blood pressure.
- It’s low in sugar, making it ideal for those on a diet.
- Promotes weight loss, low in starch and carbs.
- Extremely high in Vitamin C and E.
How can you know if your Jicama is going bad?
There are telltale signs that Jicama is starting to go bad. If the Jicama is becoming blotchy, it is at the end of the road and should be thrown out.
If Jicama is soft or slimy, it is past its expiry date. Toss it in the garbage.
If Jicama is soft or smells funky, it’s bad and should be discarded immediately.
If you have Jicama with green mold, it’s not edible. Don’t be tempted to cut the mold away. Mold penetrates deep into food, and it can’t be seen.
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If you haven’t tried Jicama, you are missing out. It is a wonderful vegetable that can be eaten raw like a carrot and mixes perfectly into salads giving them the perfect crunch and texture that can be needed in a salad.
Fresh Jicama will store for four months in cool, dry conditions out of light, and store-bought Jicama may last a shorter time due to transport of the Jicama and poor handling of the vegetable.
It can be frozen whole or in slices and has an average freezer life of 12 months.