My interest in Chayote began when I discovered it between the Tatume and Yellow Squash. The price caught my eye since it was less than the Zucchini and I like a bargain. I am also adventurous in my search for tasty, nutritious and healthy food. Did I mention that I like squash? I remember my grandfather telling me that he didn’t care for squash because he ate so much of it during the depression.
Upon researching this “Green Pear”, one of many names as it is called, I discovered that it is nutritious and can be prepared many different ways. Chayote is a source of Vitamin C and amino acids, making it a healthy option. It is common in Mexican and South American culture. Chayote can be eaten raw, in salads and salsas, or cooked and added to many dishes as you would potato or any other root vegetable.
The entire plant is used in cooking, but it is the fruit itself that I am familiar with. From the outside, the shape is like a pear or avocado. The color of the flesh resembles Honeydew and is very firm. The peel can be eaten, although I find it a little tough. When cutting, a substance like Aloe seeps out, so I prefer to peel it under running water. Diced, one Chayote yields about two cups. The flavor reminds me of cucumber or melon, but very light. There is a single, flat seed inside, that I eat as well. It tastes like a fresh shelled pea with a nutty flavor.
This is a great substitute for white potatoes in soups, stews, or cooked as a side dish. I have found that it holds up to all day cooking in the crock pot, as opposed to potatoes. For a breakfast side dish, I dice one up with onion and garlic, and serve with eggs. Topped with tomato, cilantro and a sprinkling of fresh ground, smoked peppercorns,that I purchase from Spices Ltd. I like to mix the port and scotch brined, smoked peppercorns and buy many of my other spices from Spices Ltd. at North Market Spices in Columbus, Ohio.
The next time you see Chayote in the store, grab one and give it a shot. Infitness, Bob