The Mysterious Chayote

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When I first set eyes on the chayote, I thought it was a cactus plant.

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Chayote vines can be supported on a trellis, as my parents have done, but they can also be grown along the ground.  Chayote plantations resemble vineyards.

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Here, I am preparing chayote for a stir-fry and had to first peel off the skin.  I used a veggie peeler and wore silicone-lined gloves so I wouldn’t get pinched.  When the squash is ready for picking, there are no needles, but I notice the longer I keep them, the needles start coming out, therefore making chayote look like a cactus variety.

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Here, I’ve halved the squash and removed the pit, then sliced it.

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Here is the pit, and yes, the picture is sideways.  You get the picture.

Chayote is native to Central America, yet it is a hearty fruit that is adaptable to many climates.  It can be grown in North America, as well Australia, and is very popular with a variety of Asian countries. Did you know that most parts of the Chayote can be eaten –  the leaves, the seeds, and the root?  The leaves and the fruit itself contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Anyhow, my parents’ friends all had chayote in their gardens, and one day, my parents decided to do the same.  Why not?  It would be relatively easy to maintain.  Many cultures incorporate chayote into their foods, mostly cooked, but it is pretty awesome raw – especially in salads.

Chayote would pop up in my mom’s stir-fry dishes from time to time.  I was excited to try it, but once I did, I can’t say I ever crave it.  It has a nice crispy texture but lends little-to-no flavour.  I have to admit, being a texture girl, that must be the draw with chayote.  I love the feeling of biting into chayote, especially pickled!  My mom cubes and then pickles them, making for a nice treat.  Mom and dad picked the last of them this week, and I am the lucky recipient of about 10 of them–today!  And yes, I prepared chayote for dinner tonight – Beef n Chayote w/Squash Vermicelli.  I cubed instead of sliced to complement the ground beef.

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A couple weeks ago, I made a beef n ginger, did I mention ginger?, stir-fry.  Here’s what that looked like:

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Heat up the wok (has to be on high heat and super hot) and then toss in garlic and ginger root.

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Put sliced chayote into the hot wok and cook until tender, covering with lid and adding a little water to create a steaming effect.

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Once tender, remove from wok and set aside in a large bowl.

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Heat up the wok on high again and cook the (marinated) sliced beef.

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Flavour and serve over rice.

What do you prefer – the cooked or the raw?

 

 

 

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This entry was posted by Lillian on Saturday, October 19th, 2013 at 10:09 am and is filed under Chinese. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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