Chayote is the fruit of an edible plant of the gourd family of Cucurbitaceae, cultivated in warm countries. The fruit is pear-shaped and generally measures 4 to 6 inches long. It is yellow or light green and has a single large seed.
Chayote has many names depending on the region of origin, such as christophene or christophine, cho-cho, cidra, guatila, centinarja, sousou or chou-chou, pimpinela, pipinola, tayota, mirliton, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, choko, güisquil, pataste, dashkush or su su.
The fruit has a water chestnut texture and does not very have a very pronounced taste in its raw form. It belongs to the squash family and therefore can often be substituted for squash in recipes.
Chayote is used in salads, most often from the young fruit, raw or cooled after brief cooking before being grated. The fruits also make excellent soups and creams. Chayote can be prepared mashed, pickled, fried or boiled.
It is also used in the preparation of compotes, jams, or a cake called chouchou on Reunion island. Chayote is very low in calories, yet offer numerous benefits, including cell regeneration. It also helps in the treatment of kidney stones, arteriosclerosis and hypertension.
Where can you find chayote?
In the United States, chayote can be found throughout the year at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. However, it is probably more common in states like California, Louisiana, and Florida.