What is Chayote?
Chayote is a tropical trailing vine which
produces fruits, which are treated more
like vegetables than true fruits.
They are also known as chayote, or christophine, choko, Mexican squash,
Summer squash, merlito, or vegetable pears,
depending on the region.
A member of the gourd family, chayote is
very popular in Latin America and parts of
the United States, and it also pops up in
some Asian and European cuisine.
Click here to see the nutritional values of Chayote A well stocked grocery store or a
Hispanic market will generally stock chayote,
although it can be costly at times.
There are two basic varieties of the Chayote,
one of which superficially resembles a pear, with the classic pear shape and smooth
greenish to white skin. Another cultivar is covered in soft spines, although it retains
the pear shape. Both versions have a large edible seed with a faintly nutty flavor in
the center of the crisp white flesh. The flesh of the chayote tends to be relatively
bland, and many cooks season it extensively, using the chayote as a blank canvas
for seasoning.

Chayote was first domesticated in Mexico, where the fruit is used in both raw and
cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, and
it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crispy flavor. Raw chayote may be added
to salads or salsas, and it is often marinated with lemon or lime juice. It can also
be eaten straight, although the bland flavor makes this a dubious endeavor.
Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.

The word for chayote is Spanish, borrowed from the Nahautl word chayotli. Chayote
was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought
back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The age of conquest also spread the
plant south from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of
many other Latin American nations. From early Spanish settling days until now days
dogs of all size and breed haved enjoy cooked chayote. Chayote is very healthy for
people and dogs, also a great food to maintain or loose body weight.

Culinary and medicinal uses
Although most people are familiar only with the fruit, the root, stem, seeds, and
leaves are all edible. The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw
in salads. Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavor by itself, and is commonly served
with seasonings. Both fruit and seed are rich in amino acids and vitamin Fresh green
fruit are firm and without brown spots or signs of sprouting. Smaller ones are more
tender. The tuberous part of the root is starchy and eaten like a yam (can be fried).
It can be used as pig or cattle fodder as well as being eaten by humans and dogs.
The leaves and fruit have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties,
and a tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis
and hypertension, and to dissolve kidney stones. Many cultures have found that if
the harvest of chayote is abundant, it is cheaper to use it as food for pigs, cattle
and dogs than the usual commercial feed.

No Fat, No Cholesterol and Low Sodium. It is also a good source of Folate,
Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary
Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.