Jicamas are delicious vegetables, but if you have ever cut into one and discovered brown spots on the inside of the flesh, you might be concerned. Jicamas should be white inside, and the presence of brown marks could indicate that the vegetable is no longer good to eat.
Jicamas may turn brown inside if the vegetable is old, or if it has been badly bruised. Although jicamas are reasonably tough, a hard knock could cause browning inside the vegetable, even if it looks fine on the exterior.
Before you eat a jicama, you should check that it is safe to consume. This vegetable is very healthy and a lot of people enjoy the flavor and texture, but you should be wary of eating jicamas that are turning brown inside.
Why Is My Jicama Brown Inside?
It isn’t clear exactly what causes brown spots inside a jicama, but there are a few potential explanations.
One is that the vegetable is old and the flesh is breaking down. Alternatively, being dropped may have damaged the cells beneath the skin. A third option is that the jicama formed badly when it was growing in a field, and this left the inside marked. Let’s explore each possibility.
Usually, an old jicama will be visibly deteriorating, and the outside of its flesh will turn wrinkly and soft, where it should be firm, like the skin of a potato or an apple. However, in some cases, a jicama will rot on the inside before it rots on the outside. This is more likely to happen if it has been damaged by excessive cold during storage, or something similar.
Another possibility is that the jicama has been dropped and this has bruised the internal cells, causing them to break down more quickly. When cells break down, they release compounds, and these interact with each other and cause brown discoloration. Bruising will usually leave a mark on the skin, but not always.
Alternatively, your jicama may have formed badly when it was growing in the fields. If the skin did not manage to fully cover the internal flesh, it’s possible for dirt to get inside and get covered up when the vegetable grows. This is rare, but it will lead to gritty brown formations inside the vegetable.
Is Brown Jicama Safe To Eat?
If you find brown spots inside your jicama, the best thing to do is to cut them out, remove a little of the surrounding flesh, and then use the rest of the vegetable. You should not eat the brown parts, even if you plan to cook them. Although cooking will kill bacteria, toxins left by the bacteria could remain in the flesh and it may not be safe.
In some cases, brown flesh will simply be mushy and have a slightly unpleasant texture, rather than being actually dangerous – and this is unlikely to do you any harm if you eat it, although it may not make for a very enjoyable meal. However, jicama that has turned brown will often be harboring bacteria or mold, and should not be eaten.
The brown color indicates that the flesh has been compromised, and this makes it vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections. Even if you can’t see any mold, you should avoid eating it. There may be spores present that are simply too small to detect.
Even if the flesh is safe to eat, it will lack nutrients and is generally not worth consuming. Remove the bad bits and do not eat them.
Can I Eat The Rest Of The Jicama?
You should be able to safely cut around the brown spots and use the rest of the flesh, but don’t do this if:
- The flesh has turned mushy or slimy around the brown spots
- There are spots spread throughout the jicama and it is quite old
- The jicama has a strange or sour smell when you cut it open
- The spots are very dark and seem to be leaking juice onto the rest of the jicama
On the whole, you are unlikely to get sick if you eat the jicama flesh around the brown sections, but it is best to be cautious, as food poisoning can be serious enough to cause hospitalization in some cases. You don’t want to accidentally consume fungal spores or bacteria, so be a little wary if your jicama doesn’t seem fresh.
Some people will cut around the brown sections, rinse the remaining fresh, and cook it without any concerns, but as jicamas tend to be inexpensive and readily available, you may want to just buy a fresh one and compost the one with the brown spots.
Does Jicama Turn Brown If Cut Open?
Jicama may start to slowly develop brown spots if you cut it open and leave it exposed to the air, but it won’t do so as fast as some fruits and vegetables – it isn’t like an apple. You can leave it exposed to the air for quite some time before the cells will start to oxidize and become brown.
If you want to save part of a jicama that you have cut open, you may wish to wash it with some warm water and then squeeze a little lemon juice across it. This will protect the surface and prevent the cells from oxidizing, which will stop the vegetable from developing brown spots.
Make sure you store it in the fridge once it has been cut open to maximize its lifespan. Place it in an airtight container and aim to use it up within a few days. If the flesh has turned slimy and brown, the vegetable is no longer good to eat and should be thrown away.
Jicamas can go brown for a number of reasons, but the commonest is that the vegetable is old and its cells are slowly starting to break down. If your jicama has been knocked hard during transportation, it may also develop brown spots in a certain area, where the cells were damaged and the compounds have escaped from them.