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chayote

 

Synonyms: christophene, christophine

botanical name: Sechium edule


Chayote

 

Chayotes were cultivated by the Aztecs in Central America, where they originated. Today they are grown on plantations in numerous areas of the world, among them Central and South America, the Caribbean, India, Australia and New Zealand.

In our region, they are grown on a small scale in Spain and southern France. These countries, as well as Germany and Great Britain, are the chief market for chayotes in Europe.


Availability


Because they ripen throughout the year, they are always available. The chayotes sold in Germany come mainly from Costa Rica and Brazil.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Chayotes belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. They are shaped like pears or quinces. They can be up to 20 cm long and usually weigh 200–500 g. The shell is usually green, sometimes yellowish, and has 5–10 longitudinal grooves. Some varieties are covered with fleshy spines.

The white-to-green pulp surrounds a pit that becomes larger as the fruit ripens and then grows out of the fruit. Chayotes taste like something between zucchini and cucumbers; the cooked pulp is the consistency of young zucchini or squash.


Ingredients


100 g contain:


Chayote, fresh
Energie (kcal)
24
Wasser (g)
93
Eiweiß (g)
< 1
Fett (g)
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
5
Ballaststoffe (g)
1,1
Niacin (NÄ) (μg)
600
Pantothensäure (μg)
483
Vitamin C (mg)
17
Folsäure (μg)
28
Kalium (mg)
108
Calcium (mg)
14
Magnesium (mg)
14



Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


The fruits keep for a long time and travel well. At temperatures around 10°C and with relatively high humidity they can be stored for several months. Since the fruits are harvested when still unripe, they should be kept for some time at room temperature to ripen before they are eaten.


Presumed effect on health


A blood-pressure-lowering effect is attributed to chayotes.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


The pulp exudes a sticky fluid; therefore, it is recommended that chayotes be washed under running water.

Usually, they are cooked. To this end, they are first peeled and their spiny skin and the pit are removed. They are served cooked, steamed, or fried as a side dish with all kinds of meat and fish dishes.

Chayotes filled with meat or fish and browned in the oven with cheese taste good, as does risotto with chayotes.

The most varied sauces are suitable; according to the dish, you can serve a cheese or a curry sauce, or a cream or butter sauce.

In addition to being eaten warm, the squash is good in sweet dishes and compotes. Salads can also be made, from either raw or cooked pulp. In this case the chayote should be used like the avocado.

In the areas where they are cultivated, not only the chayotes themselves, but also their leaves, sprouts, and roots are eaten. The leaves are cooked like spinach, the sprouts like asparagus, and the roots like potatoes. In addition, starch is made from the roots.


Seasoning tip


Thyme, marjoram, and basil are suitable for seasoning hearty dishes.


Miscellaneous


If you want to grow your own plant, set not just the pit but the entire fruit in the soil. It is in the nature of the pit to germinate in the fruit, but not when it has been removed from it.

 

 

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  With the website www.the-green-pantry.com the Fritz Terfloth Foundation of Münster offers consumers independent and competent information about plant foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. Information about the conditions for use of the texts by third parties can be found here.


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