The Secret Garden Club loves Mexican food. It's difficult to obtain authentic ingredients in the UK, although this is continually improving. So in the past we've grown jalapenos, tomatillos, poblanos and mouse cucumbers.
I'm just back from a trip to the Yucatan where the food is strongly influenced by Mayan ingredients: achiote, sour oranges, pumpkins and their seeds, habanero chillies and Jicama. I tried to smuggle back Jicama in my hand luggage but had them confiscated at Minneapolis airport, along with my beautiful white stone molcajete and my hot sauces. Sob. I'm still not over it.
Habaneros are milder than in the UK where I find them too hot to be pleasurable. I love chillies but I'm not into all that macho posturing about heat. I want flavour rather than scovilles.
Fresh green or yellow habaneros are wonderful, simply sliced into food or served as a pickle. I also learnt new dishes to make with my next tomatillo crop.
I did manage to bring back some Jicama seeds so hopefully Zia Mays and I will be able to grow some of these radishy/potato-ish roots, a bit like 'oca' but without the lemony flavour.
You can eat it raw, say in a salad. I had it like that at Hartwood restaurant, with a hibiscus dressing, probably the best thing they served. Peel the tough skin off with a sharp knife.
It can also be used cooked, as chips, briefly fried in olive oil and doused with chilli salt.
So this time next year, hopefully the Secret Garden Club will be laden with Jicama. I haven't yet found a place to buy them in London.
Jicama salad at Hartwood.