CHAYOTE: RAW APPLE ALTERNATIVE

At least once a month I try to be adventurous at the grocery store and purchase a vegetable that I'm unfamiliar with to research when I get home. Rarely do I actually end up using it in the way I'm instructed to online, but the information I read helps me to understand it's flavor, texture and properties a bit better before having a hand at it. A few weeks ago I picked up a chayote squash from the market, and was pretty pleased both with it's texture and flavor as well as how my body reacted to it. (So far, so good.) Chayote is a crisp, watery squash found in both Latin American as well as Indian cuisine. Let me half-ass this entry for a moment and give you a direct quote from Wikipedia:

"The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, alligator pear (South Louisiana), choko (Australia, New Zealand), starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India) Sayote (Philippines) ,güisquil (Guatemala, El Salvador), or pear squash, iskus (इस्कुस) (Nepal) is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash."

I've used the chayote now in smoothies and sauteed with other vegetables, but my favorite discovery so far is how well it soothes my desire for a crisp raw apple. Sliced raw, not only does it look quite like a green apple, it has the same watery refreshing snap to it, and I'm really looking forward to enjoying it in the warm summer months. If you or your child suffers from fructose malabsorption, this could be the perfect substitute for you. I haven't been able to locate any information online about the fructan content in them, so don't hold me to that, but I'm quite sensitive to fructose and many fructans, and I seem to digest them without trouble. 

CHAYOTE AS APPLE
RAW CHAYOTE SQUASH
FRESH SQUEEZED LEMON OR LIME JUICE
STEVIA TO TASTE

SQUEEZE THE LIME OR LEMON JUICE OVER THE CHAYOTE, SPRINKLE OR DRIZZLE WITH STEVIA TO TASTE. FOR A MORE INTENSE SWEET & SOUR FLAVOR, STORE IN A CONTAINER IN THE JUICES TO ALLOW THE CHAYOTE TO ABSORB THE FLAVOR MORE FULLY.

3 comments:

Nalo said...

Fascinating. Thank you for this. For me, stevia has a bitter aspartame-like taste that overwhelms any sweetness, but I might be able to substitute ground up miracle berries. I remember once reading a Caribbean cookbook from the 40s that used cooked cho-cho (chayote) to make mock apple pie, but it hadn't occurred to me to try raw cho-cho this way. I hated plain steamed cho-cho as a child, but this sounds like a fun way to eat it.

KRIS said...

Hi Nalo, I agree, sometimes the taste of stevia is really off-putting. I find that it pairs with certain flavors better than others, and sometimes I'm able to disguise it when I serve it to those who don't care for it...cardamom seems especially good at that.
Ground miracle berries, hmm? I'm not familiar, so my curiosity is piqued.
I love this tidbit about the old cookbook! I had thought of using it in a pie, and thought that it was truly unlikely that I was the only person this had occurred to.
Let me know if you end up trying it this way; I'm curious to know what it would be like for someone who grew up with the chayote in more traditional preparations. Thanks for stopping by.

KRIS said...

Oh, and I also meant to note that I've found some brands of stevia are worse than others when it comes to the unpleasant taste. I recently purchased some Stevita, for example, not being able to resist how much cheaper it was, and the fact that their ingredients were more straightforward than the other brands, ("natural flavors" is just so vague...) and wanted to wash my mouth out from the awful taste. So far NuNaturals has the most palatable taste to me, but I wonder with reserve how it is processed to make it so pleasant.

Post a Comment