Chayote (chayote squash) is a pear-shaped vegetable that is a member of the gourd family. Chayote ranges in color from cream to a deep green color, similar to cucumbers or zucchini. The most common color is a light green.
Chayote is a very mild tasting, sweet and crunchy vegetable with a flavor and texture similar to the sweetness and crunch of apples and cucumbers.
Although it is available year round, chayote is most widely and abundantly available from fall through spring.
When selecting, choose those that are firm and on the smaller side. The smaller ones are more tender and the skin is edible. The larger ones tend to have tougher skins that need to be peeled away before eating.
Do not buy squash that appears bruised or the outer surface is sticky or tacky to the touch.
Storing and Handling:
When storing, place in a plastic bag or wrapped in a paper towel in the refrigerator. The squash will last for about three weeks if stored properly.
Wash thoroughly under running water. If you have a larger squash, peel the outer skin before using. Trim any blemished areas also.
Raw: just cut washed chayote as desired for any salad.
Boil: place squash that has been cut into chunks or cubes in a pan with a couple inches of boiling water and cover. Boil for approximately 7-10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork or knife.
Microwave: place squash in a covered microwave safe dish with a small amount of water. Cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork or knife.
Salads: a very flavorful addition to salads and can be eaten raw. Dice or cube into any salad, it adds a nice sweet crunch. For a sweet style coleslaw, try using chayote as the base or combine with cabbage.
Side Dishes: a delicious side dish when sliced thinly and sautéed briefly in a little olive oil alone or with other vegetables like carrots, sweet red peppers and onions.