I have discovered (much like Europeans say they “discovered” North America) a very tasty and intriguing new vegetable – the chayote squash.
Next to my mother’s home lives a Chinese family and the grandmother from that home is wild about gardening. They have every single inch of their backyard growing some kind of an edible veggie. It really is a site to behold.
The grandmother speaks virtually no English and so when she comes over to my mother’s place they communicate with sign language and smiles. Anyway, the grandmother from across the lane is the one who gave my mother the first chayote we tried. And I will say, it is was delicious!
The chayote is a kind of summer squash typically found in Mexico. It grows on a wild, sprawling vine that will attach itself to anything in a yard. The family across the lane let their chayote grow along the fence between their yard and the neighbouring yard.
You have to peel the squash with a sharp knife or potato peeler and any peel that you leave on the squash, even after cooking, has a strong, bitter flavour. Once peeled though, the chayote squash has a dense, firm texture softer than a potato but but more firm than a cucumber. The flesh holds together very nicely when cooked in one inch cubes in a spaghetti sauce or soup.
The grandmother gave my mother a couple of the chayote squashes and we decided to plant them. They are in buckets of dirt in our climate controlled greenhouse for now. I will update you in the spring when we transfer them to our gardens.