The chayote is a member of the gourd family and native to Central America
, but now found around the world. The pear
vegetable features deep ridges from top to bottom. Color will range
from light green to white. A single large seed near the top is edible,
although some think it is an acquired taste.
Usually peeled and cooked in some fashion, the chayote bears strong zucchini overtones. It is prepared many ways, including steaming, baking, boiling, roasting, pickling, and sautéing.
Depending on the region, chayote is recognized by other names: mirliton, brione (West Indies), chocho, christophene (France), custard marrow, vegetable pear, mango squash, pepinello, and chouchoute (Polynesia).
Two types are readily available: smooth-skinned and prickly.
Look for small fruits with firm, but not hard, skin.
Chayotes will sprout quickly at room temperature. Keep refrigerated,
lightly wrapped in plastic, up to four weeks. Freeze after blanching (trim ends, dice, remove seed, and boil for 2 minutes).
• Chayotes have a firmer texture than other squash types and require a longer cooking time. This makes them ideal for stuffing.
• Young fruits can be used instead of water chestnuts. They’re often eaten raw in salads as well and can be marinated first.
• The skin releases an irritating sap, which dissipates
during cooking. When peeling, hold under running water or wear surgical
gloves. Use a grater for the surface and a paring knife for the deep
grooves. As an alternative, bake first, then scoop out the meat.
Try one of our favorite chayote recipes:
Creamed Chayote Soup