Jicama Vs Jamaica: Can You Spot Their Differences?

Jicama Vs Jamaica

For some people, especially those living in Europe or America, these two terms may sound undoubtedly confusing. Although they are pronounced nearly the same, there are some critical differences between them in several aspects.

The article below is well collected to provide essential information about jicama vs Jamaica to distinguish them quickly. 

Quick Facts

Jicama:

  • Life span: short 
  • Type: legume 
  • Appearances: pea-shaped
  • Origin: Mexico 
  • Nutrition & health benefits: controlling weight loss and blood sugar
  • Flavors: sweet
  • Applications: salads or seasonings
  • Storing: room temperature

Jamaica: 

  • Life span: all year round 
  • Type: flowering plants 
  • Appearances: hard stem, branches, short stalk, solitary flowers
  • Origin: West Africa
  • Nutrition & health benefits: inflammatory, anti-infective, antifungal
  • Flavors: mildly natural sour
  • Applications: refreshments, jams, or syrups
  • Storing: refrigerator 

Jicama Vs Jamaica: Detailed Comparison

Life span

The jicama trees have a short life span of about half to a year and grow best in a warm, frost-free, tropical climate. They are only grown for the inner flesh of the tuber because the rest of the plant, such as the stem and leaves, contain toxic phytochemicals which should not be used.

On the other hand, Jamaica’s life span is all year round. It starts to bloom from September to October every year. 

Type

Jicama is a legume, and the only edible part is the bulbous root. Many people confuse it with similarly shaped tubers such as potatoes or radish.

Meanwhile, Jamaica is a flowering plant with more than 300 different species in warm temperate and subtropical regions. It is widely used by people in the United States, Mexico, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Egypt, Sudan, Italy, and many others.

Appearances 

The jicama tree has pea-shaped pods and produces clusters of white flowers 8-12 inches long. Its tubers are typically long and extensive, averaging 6-8 feet long and weighing more than 50 pounds at just five months old, which also have a similar shape to a potato, thick, brown, yellow skin with white flesh.

On the contrary, the jamaica tree is a small shrub with a 1-1.5 m high, hard stem, with many branches, short stalk, and solitary flowers in the interstitial leaves. The calyx is succulent, with dark red above and purple below. The blade is angled upward from the bottom.

Origin

The Mexican peninsula is where jicama originated. Therefore, many people call it Mexican radish, jambeau, or Mexican potato.

Meanwhile, jamaica originated in West Africa, but in recent years, they are grown in many Asia countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, etc. 

Nutrition & health benefits 

Jicama is low in calories, sodium, sugar, and also fat-free. Because of its low glycemic index, it is ideal for most diets, for those who are diabetics or vegetarians. 

In addition, jicama is high in fiber. It contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to our bodies, such as vitamin C, potassium, and so on. Thus, it brings significant benefits to humans by:

  • Controlling eight loss and blood sugar. 
  • Aiding in the enhancement of immune, cardiovascular and digestive functions.
  • Providing high antioxidant vitamin C and supporting bone health.

Regarding Jamaica, women consider it a delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive flower that helps maintain their beauty. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, antifungal, antibacterial, and digestive properties. Here are some of its benefits:

  • Limit the formation of urinary tract stones while also supporting liver and bile function. 
  • Reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, prevent obesity caused by fat accumulation, and protect the vessel wall.
  • Heal the digestive tract. 
  • Balance blood pressure.
  • Provide electrolytes, vitamin C.  

Flavors 

Jicama is a starchy root with a naturally sweet flavor, similar to potato or radish. Moreover, it has natural crispiness, mild taste, similar to chestnut juice combined with apples. On the other hand, jamaica comes with a mildly natural sour and sweet-smelling taste. 

Applications 

People can use Jicama as an ingredient in salads or marinate as a seasoning for various dishes. It goes well with Mexican fruit salads and can be thinly sliced to add crunch to vegetable slaws. That is why we often see and find it in Central and South American meals.

Meanwhile, jamaica is frequently used as a component in refreshments, jams, or syrups. It can be perfectly combined with water to make jellies, ice cream, or served with cakes.

Storing

Jicama can be stored at room temperature for up to one month. However, if you leave it in the refrigerator for an extended time, it will quickly deteriorate due to moisture loss. To keep it moist, you should pack it tightly or place it in a dish with a layer of water underneath. 

You can preserve fresh jamaica for 7-10 days in the refrigerator by wrapping it with bags or paper. Otherwise, it can also be protected longer in the freezer (up to 6 months) by cutting it into small pieces and put into a sealed plastic bag (preferably vacuumed). 

If you want to know how to store jamaica in winter, please refer to this article

Is Jamaica The Same As Hibiscus?

Jamaica is exactly Hibiscus. It has the scientific name Hibiscus Sabdariffa Linn. However, due to the plant’s distinctive sour taste, natural red color, excellent medicinal properties, and broad applicability in culinary and medicine, people worldwide still refer to it as Hibiscus or Jamaica. 

Is Sprouted Jicama Poisonous?

The researchers found the presence of rotenone in jicama’s seeds and stems. Although beneficial to plants, rotenone is very harmful to human health. It can damage DNA, fatty acids, and other essential body components. Therefore, once jicama already sprouts, people should not eat it. 

Click here to learn more about the side effects of Jicama.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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