Chayote (Sechium edule)

Chayote (Sechium edule)
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The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as chocho, or christophine is an edible plant, which belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The vine is grown on the ground or more commonly on trellises.

Costa Rica is a major exporter of Chayotes world-wide. Costa Rican chayotes can be purchased in the European Union, the United States and other places in the world. Chayote is a very important ingredient in the Mexican diet. Veracruz state is the most important Chayote growing area of the whole country, and is also a major exporter of this product, mainly to the United States.

The plant was first recorded by modern botantists in P.Browne’s 1756 work. [1] In 1763 it was classified by Jacquin as Sicyos edulus and by Adanson as Chocho edulus. Swartz included it in 1800 in its current genus Sechium.

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 has a thin green skin fused with the white flesh, and a single large flattened pip. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and a texture described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber. Although generally discarded, the seed has a nutty flavour and may be eaten as part of the fruit.