The time is approaching! It's that time again when the humble Choko bears its all.
Even in Beachmere on our sterile sands the Choko survives and prospers. In the months ahead 'what's-for-tea' can so often mean Choko and'...even here, so far away from its Mexican home. Off shore it's called chayote -- a Spanish derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli.But the plants heritage suggests that maybe the Chayote/Choko lived in more dishes that steamed or baked.
There are many ways Chokoes can be prepared -- and many of those ways have soured the tastebuds irreparably of our children. Some of these youngsters even grow to hate the humble Choko as passionately as they may hate a football team other than their own.
But there's a few tricks with Chokoes.
- Harvest the fruits when still small and young. They are crunchy like seedless Lebanese cucumbers and more versatile than Zuchini.
- Pick them at around 4-8 cm long and don't peel them. the skin is soft and very thing, thinner than that on a cucumber or apple.
- Chokoes grown for small fruit harvest are more productive, easier to grow and with fewer (actually none of the) fungal issues suffered by Zuchinis.
My fav way with Chokoes is to eat them raw. Think salad...but tweak that by using the Choko as a key component in Chayote Salsa.
CHOKO SALSA (Salad)
This is my basic DIY:
- Chop up the Chokoes into little squares
- And do the same with cucumber and/or honey dew melon and/or (tart)green apple and/or Jicama/Yam Bean. (Other options: chopped or grated carrots or diced sweet peppers (Capsicums), or chopped young Turnips)
- Finely chop some spring onions and mix the lot together. Garlic is another addition that can be included to taste.
- Add a chopped tomato (or more) -- sprinkle a little salt over and stir.Let the juices sweat.
- fold in a chopped herb of your choice (eg:parsley, mint, basil, coriander, oregano, dill...)
- Add a chopped chilli if that is your tastebud way.
- Squirt in some white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon or lime juice. You could add a little sugar to the vinegar if you like it sweet.
- Add a wee dash of olive oil and toss. Maybe you could grind over some black pepper.
- Let rest for 10+ minutes...
Serve as a side salad/salsa or a dressing on meat or vegetables. Goes well on/in jacket baked potatoes too or as topping on a roll, or in a cheese jaffle.
The Choko absorbs the flavours of the mix and adds crunch. It's a very refreshing dish on the palate and the options are flexible and easily customised. Each tweak will add another flavour layer. You can make it without tomato if you like. That way the mix relies on the onion and herbs for zing.
But if you use tomato, go ever so lightly: salsa's reputation may presume a tomamato-ey mash but less enables more flavours to come forth.