The pear squash, or chayote, is also known as choko or chuchu. You may have seen it as you wandered around your local market. It is that odd green looking vegetable. It has wrinkly pale green skin, and a distinctive crease down the whole length of its pear shape. You can savor it cooked or raw. The mild taste captures the wonderful uniqueness of all the flavors surrounding it. Its history goes back to the great empires of Mexico; the Aztecs and Mayans.
The chayote does not need to be peeled. The thin skin is tender enough to bite through. You can boil it, bake it, stuff it, mash it, fry it, or pickle it. The soft seed has a nutty flavor, though it is not eaten frequently. In Mexico, you can also get the tubers from this plant, which are eaten like potatoes. The leaves can be added to salads or dried and used in medicinal tea. The chayote is really a gourd that is related to cucumbers and squash.
When selecting one for your next meal, be sure to choose a firm variety from the market. Look for specimens that have fewer wrinkles, they will wrinkle with age. You can refrigerate them for many days; but use them as quickly as possible for the best flavor. Our markets here in the USA get them from Mexico, grown near Veracruz.
They may be cooked in stews, thrown in with tomatoes, roasted with chicken or may be grilled along with shrimp. Throw it in a soup. It stays crispy during cooking, similar to water chestnuts. It has got a sweet, starchy texture as well as a slight fruity taste.
There are three varieties of used in Mexico: one is light green with the shape of a pear; one is small and cream colored; and one is dark green with spines. The age of the chayote can dictate how the ingredient is used. Young fruit can be eaten raw like an apple or grated for a salad. Slicing is another way to enjoy it fresh.
Ripe chayote is finest before sprouting; you can either boil or bake it. Cut them up and add them to your next soup, souffls, or gratins. Use the sprouts to enhance the flavor of vegetable dishes and salads. Summer thru fall is when this pear squash comes into season. The great thing about taking pleasure in this treat is that it is high in amino acids and vitamin C while its calorie count is low.
When you are making Mexican food, do not be reluctant to try different foods like chayotes. You might find that something new quickly becomes a favorite of yours. Take time to try new flavors and ingredients and see if it is something, you and your family will love. That is where the fun in exploring new delicacies comes from.
While they began in Mexico, they are now a popular ingredient throughout South America, the West Indies and nearby regions. In Argentina, they are used to make jam. The chayote even has its own festival in the Seychelles islands.
If you like to ensure your family are eating healthy, nutritionally balanced meals, you should check out some Mexican recipes If you thought Mexican food was high in fat or calories, you should look at some traditional Mexican recipes which comprise mainly tasty fresh produce and nutritious fish, meat or chicken.