Still one of my favourite things to do is browsing the fruit and vegetable department at the supermarket. Unfortunately, Playa has no farmers’ market where I could ask the vendors to explain their produce, so what I do is I just buy a couple of to me unknown products, try (!) to memorize their names and look them up online.
So far, I had been ignoring a fruit that looks more or less like a pear. It is called chayote, and apparently, you can also buy it in Europe and the States although I have never seen it so far – or have never paid attention.
The chayote belongs to the squash family and can be handled just like summer squash. It doesn’t have to be peeled and can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw it has a very mild, rather neutral flavour, so it should be seasoned well. The texture is similar to turnips. When you cook it, you can basically prepare the same dishes that you would with summer squash. So today, I made a hearty soup with chili, ginger, lime juice and cilantro – phew, not ideal for this hot weather, I admit, but Walmart had those beautiful, impeccable chayotes that I simply couldn’t resist. So I will freeze the soup and save it for a rainy day… And those are supposed to come!
I also found a recipe for a chayote buckwheat salad on allrecipes.com. I will try that next time – when I am able to resist the urge to buy a quantity large enough to feed a small army…
Chayotes contain a lot of vitamin C and if used in a soup, they develop a wonderful creamy texture – almost like potatoes without the gluey starchy feel.
Call me crazy, but I always have a lot of fun working with chayotes. When you look at them from underneath, they seem to be smiling – a shaky, toothless smile. And if you turn them so that the crack is vertical, well… I always hope that my butt will never look like that, not in 100 years!