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Old 03-16-2015, 04:53 PM   #1
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Choko - A rather uninspiring experience

I was in the greengrocers near the stables on Saturday buying a sack of carrots for the Wonder Horse when I spotted something new. It was roughly pear-shaped and had pale green, smooth skin. The owner of the shop, who came originally from Australia, told me it was called a choko "down-under".

Never being one to turn down the chance of a new experience I bought one and brought it home. Looked it up in Jane Grigson's veg book and discovered that there are various "designs" of this vegetable (smooth, spiney, ridged, white green, etc., which is also called a chayote, a christophene and lots of other names. It seems it's popular in Caribbean, South American and Mexican cooking.

Sadly it was a grave disappointment - bland and boring. I steamed it as the shop lady suggested. Didn't taste of much so I delved into my store cupboard and made a slightly spicy tomato and olive sauce which redeemed it a bit but I don't thing I'll bother with one again. Jane Grigson hit it on the head when she described it as "pale-flavoured". The best I could say about it is that the pale green colouring of the one I bought was very pretty and just what I want for the walls in my dining room!

Is it much used in north American cooking? If so what do you do with it to make it a bit more interesting?
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:11 PM   #2
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Here they are called Chayote..they remind me of a toothless little man. lol

Like most squash, they are bland in flavor but there are many good things to be done with them. Here's a few...
Best Chayote Squash Recipes | Yummly
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:20 PM   #3
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Here they are called Chayote..they remind me of a toothless little man. lol

Like most squash, they are bland in flavor but there are many good things to be done with them. Here's a few...
Best Chayote Squash Recipes | Yummly


Some interesting recipes there. JG did say that recipes for courgettes are worth trying. Thanks, Kayelle.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:13 PM   #4
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I tried it and was disappointed as well. I won't be buying that again. Sucker was expensive.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:16 PM   #5
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...and in Louisina they're called merlitons.
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:31 PM   #6
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Chayote squash -- it's a snoozer
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
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Love corn and merliton maque choux. Crawfish stuffed merliton. It takes on the flavor of other ingredients.
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Old 03-16-2015, 09:55 PM   #8
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Chayote are the right texture for pickles.
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:46 PM   #9
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I would have no objection if they weren't "exotic" and expensive here.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:04 AM   #10
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We tried it. Once. Meh. Price range for it is all over the map by us. We've seen it priced per pound, from 99 cents to $1.99. We've also seen them for almost a dollar each per piece. Passed all of those places up. But when we found it in a heavily Hispanic area of Worcester we took a chance - at 3/$1.00. 34 cents? OK. Barely worth it.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:52 AM   #11
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Then you are not likely to try Cactus (nopales), same texture and lack of flavor. In cultures where the only veg that grow are beans, chayote and cactus, you find ways to spice them up, try recipes from the areas the chayote came from, i.e. SouthWest USA and Northern Mexico. These are traditional foods from the way back, before the easy growing and transport of huge varieties of veg.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:16 AM   #12
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Chayote are the right texture for pickles.
Yes, that struck me when I was dealing with it.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:14 PM   #13
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We tried it. Once. Meh. Price range for it is all over the map by us. We've seen it priced per pound, from 99 cents to $1.99. We've also seen them for almost a dollar each per piece. Passed all of those places up. But when we found it in a heavily Hispanic area of Worcester we took a chance - at 3/$1.00. 34 cents? OK. Barely worth it.
We have them in every corner store around here. The little store I go to for a quart of half and half has a produce section with chayote, plantains and just about any food that they grow in the Caribbean Islands. Including cactus. My neighbors in Texas used the cactus like we do with peppers. The scrape off the spines and slice them to sauté. I wasn't fond of that either. The mother used to come in my yard and take all the cactus that were growing there. I was glad to get rid of them. One of the stores also have coconuts. Not the kind we are used to seeing, but the FULL nut! Those things weigh at least ten pounds each if not even more. When I lived in Honolulu, the city used to go around to all the palm trees and a man would climb up and cut down the coconuts. The folks that lived there would just go up and the workers would give them away. Glad to get rid of them. If one of those coconuts fell out of the tree and hit someone on the head, they would have a serious injury.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:45 AM   #14
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When I was a kid, there was a Choko vine growing between our house and next door's on the fence. That thing would never die lol, it would be back year after year sprouting chokos like no tomorrow. I always thought of it as a weed, there were attempts made on it's life, but to no avail.

If I remember correctly, my mum just boiled them and sprinkled them with salt and evoo. Definitely never thought of them as exotic and every now and then I see them in the shop. I think I read somewhere that they have no nutritional value at all, but I might be remembering wrong lol.
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Old 03-29-2015, 04:53 AM   #15
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Ah so it's a sort of squash ? Which can be pretty tasteless depending on which ones you get? Was it grown in Britain MC ?
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:40 AM   #16
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The problem wasn't with the squash, it was with the advice to steam or boil it. Typically they are used as an ingredient in other dishes. PF has it right. They are originally native to Mexico, so using them in dishes from Latin or South America would give you a better appreciation of their versatility.

Next time, try this. It will definitely change your perspective of chayote/merliton.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:53 AM   #17
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The problem wasn't with the squash, it was with the advice to steam or boil it. Typically they are used as an ingredient in other dishes. PF has it right. They are originally native to Mexico, so using them in dishes from Latin or South America would give you a better appreciation of their versatility.

Next time, try this. It will definitely change your perspective of chayote/merliton.
That recipe is very similar to a "Diablo Stuffing" I use. I interchangeably use shrimp, crab meat, crawfish and lobster in this stuffing. All work well with mirliton and mushroom caps.

I will often use the crab meat version to "stuff" jumbo, butterflied shrimp which are done under the broiler or as a stuffing for flounder.
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:40 PM   #18
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Next time, try this. It will definitely change your perspective of chayote/merliton.

In that recipe I was puzzled to read this...

Preparation

  1. Cut mirlitons in half and scoop out the large seed in the middle. Boil in salted water to cover for 25 minutes, or until tender when punctured with the tines of a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
Hmm, there is no large seed in the middle.

source...
Chayote Squash Information, Recipes and Facts

Chayote squash is defined by its ubiquitous pear-like shape, its pale lime green coloring and the deep linear indentations along the fruit's thin skin that meet at its flower end. Its creamy white hued flesh has a semi-crisp texture that becomes succulent to cottony as it matures. Its central core contains small seeds, which though edible are most often discarded. - See more at: Chayote Squash Information, Recipes and Facts
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:02 PM   #19
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In that recipe I was puzzled to read this...

Preparation

  1. Cut mirlitons in half and scoop out the large seed in the middle. Boil in salted water to cover for 25 minutes, or until tender when punctured with the tines of a fork. Be careful not to overcook.
Hmm, there is no large seed in the middle.

source...
Chayote Squash Information, Recipes and Facts

Chayote squash is defined by its ubiquitous pear-like shape, its pale lime green coloring and the deep linear indentations along the fruit's thin skin that meet at its flower end. Its creamy white hued flesh has a semi-crisp texture that becomes succulent to cottony as it matures. Its central core contains small seeds, which though edible are most often discarded. - See more at: Chayote Squash Information, Recipes and Facts

The "central core" is the "large seed." It's a walnut or larger size area of tough matter where the seeds are.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:19 PM   #20
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I thought the seeds were arranged a lot like apple or pear see, in a core.
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