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Oct 9, 2006 08:27 PM

Prickly chayotes gone wild

So last year Roberto trotted in with two little chayotes he found growing in the yard.

This year the chayote has gone mad, covering the fence with at least a bushel of the fruit and hundreds of little white flowers that promise lots more.

It is sort of kudzu-like. I can no longer see the lilac bush, the small peach trees and it is advancing on the yuzu tree. It's getting pretty close to the door too. I've starting to get that Audrey of "Little Shop of Horrors" fame feeling. I swear it wasn't there a week ago and I haven't seen the small dog next door lately.

So, how do I eat these? Is there something to do with vast ... vast ... quantities?

I have lots to practice with ... but frankly have never knowingly eaten a chayote. How do I know it is ripe? With the prickly type should there be a lot of prickle?

I read in the links at the end that the leaves and roots can be used ... yeah, especially interested in getting rid of those roots. Anyone used other parts besides the fruit?

The wiki link has lots of alternate names, so it seems to be used world-wide. In France it is called christophene. Other countries
cajot, chocho, choko, chuchu, fuk maew, fut sao gwa, gayota, guiscil, hup jeung gwa ("closed palms squash"), labu siam, mango squash, mirliton, pataste, pipinella, sayote, Seemae BaDhneKayi, su-su, tayote, trai su, vegetable pear, vilati vanga, waluh, AND zucca.

Certainly with all those names, there have to be lots of good uses for these.

Chayote links

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Steam, peel, de-seed, and combine with raw shrimp & seasonings (garlic, onion, green pepper, thyme, parsley, salt, cayenne pepper) for a simple casserole. Or keep the outer shells intact, scoop out insides, and stuff with the mixture then bake.

      Taste-wise, I find mirliton to have a green, slightly bitter, vegetal quality. The flesh is fairly watery, so take this factor into consideration when cooking.

      I once ate an excellent mirliton slaw, which served as the foil for a fried softshell crab; it rocked...bright, crisp, slightly bitter--it nicely offset the richness of the crab.

    2. I just made a whole bunch of them recently. What I do is boil, then peel (the prickly ones are tricky!) and then mash with butter and cayenne. YUM!! :)


      3 Replies
      1. re: Dommy

        Yum! Where did you find them?

        1. re: Pei

          The Pricky ones I got from a friend with a garden. Because the prickly ones can be dangerous, most stores carry the smooth skin ones like in RW's Gourmet Slueth link (Which are prepared the exact same way and taste identical).

          You can find them in L.A. pretty much everywhere now since they are considered 'exotic'... LOL! I've seen them at Nicer Ralphs, Whole Foods, sometimes at Farmer's Markets. Of course the best price is at Hispanic Markets. They are pretty much a staple and work well in various preparations (Because raw they are HARD, very much like potatoes)...


          1. re: Dommy

            Six years after the fact....I ended up here because I hadn't ever seen the prickly chayotes before. I was at B&B Hardware in West L.A. and was checking out Luis the produce guy who is parked in the lot. I asked him what they were and when he told me they were chayotes I mentioned I'd never seen the prickly one. He told me they were just "different."
            So if anyone is looking for those in the area you might head out that way and check with Luis. He's only there Monday through Saturday from about 9am to 5:30pm. I also suggest grabbing a hot dog from his friend Pablo who has a cart there around the same times get it "con todo."

      2. Peel, cut them up and braise with a little chicken stock or water and butter. Great side dish for chicken or fish.

        1. Well, I found the chayote vine advancing along the side of the house again ... enbracing the peach tree and lilac bush.

          While looking for something else, I came across this receipe for sweet stuffed chayote relleno ...

          3 sm Chayotes (about 6 ounces -each)
          1/2 c Almonds
          1/2 c Sugar
          3 Eggs
          1 tb Brandy
          1 ts Vanilla
          2 tb Milk or cream
          pn Nutmeg
          1 1/2 c Sponge cake or pound cake *
          1/2 c Golden sultana or black -raisins
          3 tb Slivered almonds
          1 c Softly whipped cream, -barely sweetened

          The rest of the recipe

          Last year's Chayote Cronicles with more ideas