Botanical Name: Sechium edule
Synonyms: Chayota edulis (Jacq.) Jacq. Cucumis acutangulus Descourt. Sechium americanum Poir. Sechium chayota
Common Names: Chayote, Mirliton, Cho Ko, Cho-Cho, Vegetable Pear Mirliton squash or simple squash in India. The common English name is from the Spanish word chayote, a derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli.
(Chayote was one of the several foods introduced to the Old World during the Columbian Exchange. Also during this period, the plant spread from Mexico to other parts of the Americas, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.)
Habitat: Chayote grows in most of t6he places in the world.
In the most common variety, the fruit is roughly pear-shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length. It looks like a green pear, and it has a thin, green skin fused with the green to white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit. Some varieties have spiny fruits. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and a texture is described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber.
The chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow onto anything, and can easily rise as high as 12 meters when support is provided. It has heart-shaped leaves, 10–25 cm wide and tendrils on the stem. The plant bears male flowers in clusters and solitary female flowers. The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise.
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Edible Uses: The chayote fruit is mostly used cooked. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash; it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crispy consistency. Though rare and often regarded as especially unpalatable and tough in texture, raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, most often marinated with lemon or lime juice. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of vitamin C.
Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as being edible, the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often consumed in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia.
Medicinal Uses: 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.
CLICK & SEE : Different Benefits of eating Chayote :
Other Uses: 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.
Due to its purported cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well preserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.