Published by: Gourmet Sleuth
Last Updated: 02/17/2018
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)
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.
Chayotes are available almost year round with main crops in fall and late spring.
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" seasoning. You can see a recipe here for sauteed chayote leaves and tendrils. You can also eat the chayote tuber portion of the roots boiled or you can add it to a simple vegetable or meat stew.
Given this vegetable is mostly water it is low in calories (one cup of 1" cubes) is only 25 calories. There is only 1 gram of protein so you won't be looking for this as a major protein source. Carbs are only 6 grams so that's not bad. There is some vitamin C, about 10 grams per cup ( The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for a woman is about 75mg and for an adult mean is 90 milligrams. Even so after you boil it there is probably very little Vitamin C left.
To put your 6 grams of carbohydrate in perspective here are the allowable carbs for some popular diets:
Keto Diet - 20-50 carbs per day. If you don't have many other carbs 6g from the chayote is not so bad. Atkins Low Carb Diet - 20 - 25 carbs per day. You may want to keep this vegetable portion down to 1/2 cup 1" cubes.
Paleo - Paleo diet doesn't have such a restriction on non-starchy vegetable carbs. You can pretty much eat all the chayote you want.