Monday, April 12, 2010

chayote squash

I recently had a wonderful sandwich made with a soft cheese and raw chayote squash on a crusty french bread.  The crisp fresh flavor of the chayote complimented the soft cheese and gave the sandwich a wonderful consistency.

Chayote (pronounced chai-oh-tee) is a member of the curcurbitaceae family, which also includes melons, cucumbers, and squash.  Sometimes call a pear squash it can be eaten either raw or cooked.

Nutritionally it is an excellent addition to your diet, being very low in calories, only 25 per cup, with a high level of vitamin C, folate, and manganese (a mineral that is important for bone growth).  That one cup also provides a modest amount of protein and 2 grams of fiber.  It is believed to have diuretic properties and apparently there are Central American cultures that use it to treat kidney stones and other urinary disorders.

Currently at their peak they can be added to a wide range of raw salads or cooked dishes.  Consider trying this wonderful recipe from Epicurious.

When choosing a chayote in the grocery store or farmer's market make sure to choose a firm unblemished fruit.

photo courtesy of David Monniaux | Wikimedia Commons

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