Chayote


Chayote
Chayote
Chouchous on sale in Réunion Island
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Cucurbitales
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Genus: Sechium
Species: S. edule
Binomial name
Sechium edule
(Jacq.) Swartz

The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, pear squash, christophine (in France), chouchoute (in Vanuatu), choko (in Australia and New Zealand), starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India), cho cho (Jamaica), sayote (Philippines), güisquil (Guatemala, El Salvador), seemebadanekai (ಸೀಮೆಬದನೆಕಾಯಿ) (kannada), iskus (इस्कुस) (Nepal), is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

Chayote is originally native to Mexico, but has been introduced as a crop worldwide. The main growing regions are Costa Rica and Veracruz, Mexico. Costa Rican chayotes are predominantly exported to the European Union, whereas Veracruz is the main exporter of chayotes to the United States.

The word chayote is a Spanish derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli. Chayote was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The Age of Conquest also spread the plant south from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.

The chayote fruit is used in both raw and cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, and it is often marinated with lemon or lime juice. It can also be eaten straight, although the bland flavor makes this a dubious endeavor. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.

Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as edible, the root, stem, seeds, and leaves are, 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. Like other members of the gourd family, such as cucumbers, melons, and squash, chayote has a sprawling habit, and it should only be planted if there is plenty of room in the garden. The roots are also highly susceptible to rot, especially in containers, and the plant in general is finicky to grow. However, in Australia and New Zealand, it is an easily grown yard or garden plant, set on a chicken wire support or strung against a fence.

Contents

Taxonomy

The plant was first recorded by modern botanists in P.Browne's 1756 work, the Civil and Natural History of Jamaica.[1] In 1763, it was classified by Jacquin as Sicyos edulis and by Adanson as Chocho edulis. Swartz included it in 1800 in its current genus Sechium.

Description

Chayote inside

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 white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and a texture is described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber. Although generally discarded, the seed has a nutty flavor[citation needed] and may be eaten as part of the fruit.

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 it can reach a tree or house. Its leaves are heart-shaped, 10–25 cm wide and with tendrils on the stem. The flowers are cream-colored or somewhat green that come out beneath a leaf or branch. If the plant is male, the flowers will show in clusters. The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise.

Culinary and medicinal uses

Ichintal (chayote root)
Phat yot sayongte: Thai for stir-fried chayote shoots

The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw in salads. Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavor by itself, and is commonly served with seasonings (e.g., salt, butter and pepper in Australia) or in a dish with other vegetables and/or flavorings. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed, baked, fried, or pickled in escabeche sauce. Both fruit and seed are rich in amino acids and vitamin C.[2] Fresh green fruit are firm and without brown spots or signs of sprouting. Smaller ones are more tender.

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, as well.

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.[2]

Chayote is an important part of traditional diets across Mesoamerica, and can be found in dishes.

In Taiwan, chayotes are widely planted for their shoots, known as lóng xü cài (龍鬚菜, literally "dragon-whisker vegetable"). Along with the young leaves, the shoot is a commonly consumed vegetable in the region.

In Thai cuisine, the plant is known as sayongte (Thai: ซายองเต้) or fak maeo (Thai: ฟักแม้ว, literally meaning "Miao melon"). It grows mainly in the mountains of northern Thailand. The young shoots and greens are often eaten stir-fried or in certain soups.

In Brazil and other Latin countries, it is used in salads, soups or soufflés. The younger, spikeless fruits may be eaten raw.

Many cultures have found that if the harvest of chayote is abundant, it is cheaper to use it as food for pigs or cattle than the usual commercial feed.

Folklore

"Apple pie"

In Australia, where it is called choko, a persistent rumour has existed that McDonald's apple pies were made of chokos, not apples. This eventually led McDonald's to emphasise the fact that real apples are used in their pies. This legend was based on an earlier belief that tinned pears were often disguised chokos. A possible explanation for the rumour is that there are a number of recipes extant in Australia, that advise chokos can be used in part replacement of canned apples to make the fruit go farther, in making apple pies. This likely arose because of the economies of "mock" food substitutes during the Depression Era,[3] shortages of canned fruit in the years following World War II, and the fact apples do not grow in many tropical and subtropical parts of Australia, making them scarce. Chokos, on the other hand, grow extensively in Australia, with many suburban backyards featuring choko vines growing along their fence lines.

Another possible reason for the rumour of McDonald's apple pies containing chokos was that it was thought that apples would degenerate and become soggy and inedible in a McDonald's pie, whereas chokos are well known to retain their firmness and consistency after cooking, freezing, and reheating. It was thought that the "chunks" of apple in the pie were in fact chunks of choko, and the sauce and filling were simply a spiced, apple-flavoured concoction.

Mummies

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.[citation needed]

Alternative names

Chayote (English pronunciation: /tʃaɪˈoʊtiː/ ( listen)) is the Spanish name of the plant, from Nahuatl: chayohtli (pronounced [t͡ʃaˈjoʔtɬi]). It is used in many parts of Spanish-speaking Latin America and in the US. Worldwide, it is known by many other names:

Africa

America

  • Argentina: yuyu (xuxu); papa del aire (spanish for "air potato")
  • Barbados: christophene
  • Brazil: chuchu (xuxu)
  • Belize: cho-cho
  • English Caribbean: christoferine, christophene, cho-cho
  • Colombia: guatila (Cundinamarca), guasquilla (Boyacá), Citrayote (Putumayo) or sidra (Caldas), another popular and vulgar name is papa de los pobres (Spanish for "potatoes of the poor")
  • Costa Rica: chayote
  • Dominican Republic and Nicaragua: tayota [ta'jɔta]
  • Ecuador: citrayote (Pichincha), citrayota (Tungurahua), chayote (Amazon provinces), papamelo (coastal provinces, Spanish for "potato melon")
  • El Salvador: güisquil
  • French Antilles: christophene, christophine
  • Guatemala-El Salvador-Honduras: The dark green variety is labeled güisquil, the yellowish-white variety perulero and the more common light-green variety pataste.
  • Honduras: patásteh
  • Haiti: mirliton
  • Jamaica: chocho, chow chow
  • Louisiana (Cajun, Creole, English): mirliton (sometimes spelled merliton) but pronounced in New Orleans and surrounding parishes as "mel-a-tawn"
  • Mexico: chayote
  • Trinidad and Tobago: christophene
  • United States of America: mirliton; slang term: "old people lips"
  • Paraguay: papa del aire
  • Panama and Puerto Rico: chayote

Asia

  • China (Cantonese): 佛手瓜 fut sao gwa (Buddha hand melon), 合掌瓜 hup jeung gwa (closed palm melon)
  • China (Mandarin): 佛手瓜 fó shǒu guā (Buddha hand melon), 合掌瓜 hé zhǎng guā (closed palm melon)
  • Hmong of Laos: taub thaj (tau tah), taub maum (tau mau)
  • India (Kannada): seemae badhnekayi (ಸೀಮೆ ಬದನೆಕಾಯೇ)
  • India (Telugu):(Telugu): సీమ వంకాయ seema vankaya or బెంగలూరు వంకాయ Bengaluru vankaaya
  • India (Tamil): chocho or chow chow (Tamil: சௌ சௌ), Bengaluru katharikkai (Tamil: பெங்களூர் கத்தரிக்காய்)
  • India (Darjeeling): ishkus
  • India (Mizoram): iskut
  • India (Nagaland): iskus
  • India (Himachal Pradesh): launkdu
  • India (Manipur): dasgoos, gussii (Mao language)
  • Indonesia: labu siam (Siamese pumpkin), jipang or waluh (Jav.), lèjèt (Sun.)
  • Japan: hayatouri (ハヤトウリ)
  • Malaysia: English cucumber
  • Myanmar: gorakha thee (gurkha fruit)
  • Nepal: iskus (इस्कुस)
  • Philippines: sayote
  • Thailand: fak maeo (ฟักแม้ว)
  • Vietnamese: su su, trái su
  • Sri Lanka: chocho

Europe

Oceania

chouchou, chocho, cho-cho, mango squash, vegetable pear[citation needed]--->

Gallery

See also

  • List of vegetables
  • Araujia sericifera, a toxic weed that is often described as "choko-like".

References

Sources

  • Rafael Lira Saade. 1996. Chayote Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 8. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy. ISBN 92-9043-298-5 available in pdf format

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chayote — Früchte der Chayote auf dem Markt Systematik Rosiden Eurosiden I Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • chayote — ● chayote ou chaïote nom féminin (espagnol chayote, de l aztèque chayote) Cucurbitacée américaine dont les racines sont comestibles, de même que le fruit, qui est gros et charnu. (La tige fournit une fibre textile, la paille de chouchoute, qui… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Chayote — Cha yo te 1. a tropical West Indian vine ({Sechium edule}) of the gourd family, which bears small white flowers and produces an edible fruit. [PJC] 2. the edible fruit of the {chayote[1]} vine, having a pear shape with a furrowed skin, and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chayote — Chayote, Frucht von Sechium edu le, s.d …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Chayote — (spr. tschajōte), s. Sechium …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Chayote —   [tʃ ], die, / n, Sẹchium edule, Art der Kürbisgewächse aus dem tropischen Amerika; wird heute im westlichen Indien, in Kalifornien und Westafrika kultiviert. Die mit Blattranken kletternde Pflanze bildet über 10 m lange Sprosse; Früchte… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • chayote — sustantivo masculino 1. Origen: América. Fruto de la chayotera, parecido al pepino. 2. Chayotera …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • chayote — (Del nahua chayutli). 1. m. Fruto de la chayotera, de aproximadamente diez centímetros de longitud, de color verde claro, forma alargada y superficie rugosa con algunos pelos punzantes. Es comestible. 2. chayotera …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • chayote — ☆ chayote [chä yōt′ā, chä yōt′ē ] n. [Sp < Nahuatl čayoʾλ i] a tropical American perennial vine (Sechium edule) of the gourd family, grown for its edible, fleshy, pear shaped, single seeded fruit …   English World dictionary

  • Chayote — Fruits d …   Wikipédia en Français


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