Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

by Elizabeth Beavis
Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.

 A choko on the vine
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.

The choko vine growing over the garden fence
Leaving chokos out to sprout
Here's one that started sprouting in the kitchen,
the others have been outside, but starting to sprout slowly
This is how I plant them, I don't know if its right, but it works.

The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn't like frost either.  Its a little fussy, but when the conditions are right, it will produce copious amounts, so you probably only need one vine unless you really like chokos.

Choko flowers
Double choko!
Actually we don't particularly like chokos.  They don't really have much of a taste and just a mushy texture.  They are ok mixed into casserole or curry, or steamed with other vegetables, or cooked in butter and garlic (I don't peel chokos before I cook them, I just slice them thinly.).  We eat them when they appear in the garden, but we don't love them.  Cheryl the dog does love them and the cattle and chickens eat them too.  We grow them because we value diversity in the garden, and plants that produce a large amount of food for us and animals in a small space.  Chokos have their place in our garden, but I'm glad we don't have to survive on them!

chopped choko - I don't peel them and the seed is soft, so doesn't
have to be removed either - now just steam or sautee
Do you eat and/or grow chokos?  Do you love them?

Growing and eating chokos in Australia

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