Can you believe that Chayote is considered a fruit? Yes, it is an edible fruit that can be eaten both raw and cooked. Chayote, pronounced [chah-YOH-teh] is known by many names: chocho, choko, christophene, christophine, mirliton, and so many other names. Sometimes referred to a vegetable pear, its squash like fruit has a slightly crisp texture similar to an apple and also has a mild flavor that is revived with fresh cooking herbs. It is seen in two forms, smooth and prickly. Chayote is very common in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and United Sates.
With a delicate taste and soft skin, chayote produces a juice that some people may have a slight sensitivity to when peeling. It is recommended to peel in water or cooking prior to peeling which will make the skin less irritant. This marvelous fruit comes in a variety of shapes and colors depending on when it is harvested and its plants. The smooth-skinned variety chayote is the most commonly found. The fruit is edible and mostly utilized in many culinary ways. It is used raw sliced thin or shredded in both green and chopped salads to give a delicate and crunchy texture. It is also cooked, roasted with herbs and spices as the main ingredient or added to soups, stews, curries, legumes or eaten grilled. In the Caribbean and Latin America, it is commonly added to stews and legumes. There are many baking recipes as well as roasting. But the most known recipes are roasted and stew. Chayote can also be fried when dipped in flour mixture but not quite as delicious when roasted or in stews, legumes or baked.
Before cooking with the fruit you should know that it has high water content. It is recommended to decrease any water addition to your dish or pan roasts it briefly before baking to reduce its water content. It is high in potassium, magnesium, folate, and contains vitamin C as well as B-6, a super food that should be part of your diet, either in a salad, soups, stews, baked, grilled or roasted.
It is always beneficial to try consuming fruits or vegetables that are full of vitamins and contain several health benefits. Cooking with this wonderful fruit can be very elevating. Because of its mild flavor, when stuffed with cheese or baked and combined with cheese and other ingredients such as ham, sausage or any other meat, the dish is exquisite such as my recipe for Chayote au Gratin or Roasted Chayote.