Americans love Mexican cuisine. The cuisine usually found in America contains typical vegetables you can find in the states. There is a variety of vegetables not as known in America, but are grown and eaten throughout Mexico.
Jicama is a Mexican potato and also considered a turnip. It is a large, bulbous root vegetable with the roots getting as heavy as 50 pounds. Its flesh is thin and is brown and white in color. Jicama has a crunchy taste to it. The flavor is described as being nutty and sweet, with the texture similar to water chestnuts. In Mexico the vegetable is thinly cut and soaked with Mexican lime, and topped to chili pepper.
Nopales are another common vegetable throughout Mexico. It is a popular vegetable to eat during Lent. Nopales consist of fleshy, oval leaves that are from the nopal cactus. Their color can be anywhere from light green to dark green. They have a light, tart taste to them. The vegetable can be boiled or grilled. In Mexico you will see nopales cooked in scrambled eggs and even sandwiches.
Chayote is a gourd that once was the main food for the Aztecs and Mayas. Its skin varies from being white to pale green. The outside can be found smooth, wrinkled, or full of pricks. People prepare it similar to summer squash. It also is used in salads. Because the taste is mild, seasonings are sometimes added to strengthen the flavor.
Another vegetable that would be great added to a salad is the Mexican Gherkin. It is a young cucumber that is picked when it is 1 to 3 inches in size. The vegetable can then be cut and added to salads, or other dishes. People also jar the gherkins adding vinegar and dill, which makes them pickled.
Many Mexican dishes have tomatoes added. One popular tomato is called the Mexican husk tomato. It was popular back in the Aztec and Mayan economy. The plant can stand 4 to 5 feet tall. The tomatoes are usually miniature in size. When the tomatoes are ripe the skin will be yellow, purple, and sometimes red, but that is a rare color for the tomato. It gives many different flavors from being acidy, to sweet with many seeds. The Mexican husk tomato is grown in the Summer time in temperate regions of the country. It also needs plenty of sun and not extremely wet soil. Once grown, they are cut and eaten raw, or added to different dishes such as a sauce called salsa verde which goes on meats or green chili peppers or used alone. They also are popular additions to salads.
These vegetables and others that are grown in Mexico can be found at food markets and Mexican grocery stores. Each vegetable has its own purposes and make great additions to dishes. It is great to experiment and see what you can do with them. Before you know it, you may be adding chayote besides tomatoes and avocados in your salad!