Late Summer Vegetables (Mid-August Through Early-September)
- Chayote is a late-maturing, tropical variety of summer squash. Pear-shaped, it comes in shades of green and is usually smooth-skinned, although some varieties are prickly. Each chayote contains one large, flat seed. Although chayote that weigh
as much as five pounds sometimes make it to market, most are smaller. Often they are a perfect single-serving size for stuffed squash recipes.
- Although it isn't a very well-known squash, chayote doesn't lack for names. You may find it under a sign marked mirliton, sapote, huisquil, laboe siam, chuchu or xuxu or chocho, custard marrow, christophene, pipinella, mango squash, pear
squash, or vegetable squash.
- The fruit isn't the only edible part of the chayote plant. The tender new tips of the vine can be prepared and eaten as greens, the starchy roots resemble potatoes, and even the seed can be eaten. Of course, the tendrils and roots are unlikely
to make it to markets, but gardeners can take advantage of them.
- If the sticky juice in the peel of the raw chayote irritates your skin, it might help to rub the squash with vegetable oil before starting to peel it.
- Chayote is eaten baked, boiled, steamed, sauteed and raw. It goes well with onions and fresh herbs, and its mild flavor is a nice complement to livelier Central American ingredients like tomatoes, hot peppers and spiced meats.