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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chayote Squash

Chayote Squash:


Chayote (Sechium edule) is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family, Curcurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers, and squash.   Its tendrils, flowers, and roots are all edible.  


Chayote is native to Mexico where it growsa abundantly but has little commerical value.  The main growing regions of chayote are Brazil, Costa Rica, Veracruz, Mexico, and Abkhazia.  Veracruz mainly exports its chayote to the U.S.  Within the U.S. it is cultivated in Florida, California, and Lousiana.  


Chayote can be boiled, stuffed, mashed, baked, fried or pickled.  
It can be eaten raw in salads, or stuffed and baked.  Other preparations include mashing, pickling, frying or boiling.  The plain squash tends to be bland and needs aggressive seasoning.   Chayote fruit is used most frequently in cooked form.  When cooked chayote is usually treated like summer squash, lightly cooked to retain its crisp flavor.  The fruit does not need to be peeled to be cooked or fried in slices.  Most people regard it as having a mild flavor by itself.  It is commonly served with seasonings or in a dish with other vegetables and/or flavoring.

Medicinal Uses:

Medicinal uses include a tea made from leaves which is reported to dissolve kidney stones as well as a treatment for arteriosclerosis and hypertension. 


Chayote squash is available year round, but peak harvest is fall through late spring. 

Selecting and Storing:

Select firm smooth, unwrinkiled chayote with no brown spots.  Old chayote become very wrinkled and become dry and tough.
Chayote will keep refrigerated for many days, but it is best to use as quickly as possible.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:

Fried Chayote

2 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 chayote, pitted and thinly sliced
2 tsp dried or 2 TBS fresh oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add onions and saute until they are golden but not browned, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Add the chayote and oregano and saute an additional 2 - 3 minutes, until the squash starts to soften.  Lower heat cover and let cook until chayote is tender, an additional 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper before serving.
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