ChayotePronounced [chah-YOH-teh], the chayote is another native Mexican plant and is a member of the squash family. It is also referred to as a "vegetable pear" or chcocho. In France the chayote is called a christophene. The flesh is quite crisp something like a water chestnut. The chayote is seen in two forms, smooth and prickly.
Article by: Barbara Bowman
History And Lore
Chayote (Sechium edule) was actually domesticated in Mexico and seen in South American until after the Spanish conquest. (Sophie Coe, America's First Cuisines). The starchy squash was a staple of the Aztecs. The name chayote is derived from the Nahuatl world chayotli.
The squash is actually a member of the gourd family but it unusual given it has a single seed and it is a perennial (it can come back every year from the same plant)
The Mayans added chayote shoots (as a green) to beans and also ate the fruit and the starchy roots.
The chayote shown here is the prickly variety.
Chayote have become popular in the U.S. and are found in many large markets.
They are being cultivated in Florida, California, and Louisiana. They are very
common in Latino grocery stores. Select firm, smooth, unwrinkled chayote. 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.
Medicinal uses of the chayote included a tea made of the leaves is reported to
dissolve kidney stones as well as a treatment for arteriosclerosis and
The chayote 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 benefits from "aggressive"