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Chokoes are us.

I am beginning to get obsessed with chokoes as they are so easy to grow and have many edible attributes -- leaves, fruit and roots. Cooking them is one issue. Growing another.

Then there is the un-respected art of using choko vines for shading and design.In that regard my trellis rocks and is so chocko friendly the beans are, for the moment, taking second place in my outback love life.

And what outback dunny is complete without choko decoration?
Not that I can nowadays go 'our back' but there was a certain quirky charm in the tradition of disguising the habit under greenery.
Such a versatile vegetable.

From New Orleans Lance Hill writes that he is seeking choko stock from local heirlooms that are naturally resistant to anthracnose . (Is that an issue here?) He goes on,
 "Here we only eat the fruit—no one ever thought to eat the leaves or shoots. The second phase of my project is to create an international on-line recipe site to increase the uses of mirlitons, but food habits are deeply entrenched. The Cajuns of Southwest Louisiana do eat them raw like celery sticks. They pickle them as well.Truly it is a remarkable and thoroughly disrespected vegetable....Anyway, keep me posted on Chokos. I am interested in all lore, growing methods, plant pests and diseases, and recipes and textile uses."
I'm harvesting fruits at egg size and have planted 8 vines to keep me (and the chooks) supplied. At that size you can indeed eat them like celery sticks or radishes.

Since I have so many vines it is interesting to compare one with the other. They are all exciting to monitor although some are more  exciting than others. In way of structural layout overhead on a trellis beats growing the vines  up a wall. It is much easier to locate the fruits from below when they are above you as they hang down nicely in profile , silhouetted against the sky.

The setup is more aesthetic that way too. While the choko flower is a bit passe, the way the fruiting and flowering tendrils project themselves into the air is delightful filigree.

Tonight I did a quick run around and harvested at walnut size...

Then cooked them.

...sauteed in bacon, shallots and garlic with a cream, Basil and Parmesan sauce. Not bad tucker. No peeling. Not much of anything in way of preparation chores.

Any big ones that escape my early harvest are thrown into the pen as chook food.

I'm going to be drowned in chokoes I'm sure as new fruits form daily. But they are so versatile at table if you think outside the box.

But when Googling your options remember that the  humble choko is also known as chuchu, sayote, tayota, chayote, chocho, chow-chow, christophene, mirliton, vegetable pear, or pear squash. And since they emanate from the Mexico territory their cuisine traditions lend themselves to things like crunchy  salsas. However, no Sunday lamb roast is complete without chokoes being included in the roasting pan,.  Chokoes -- as mirlitons -- are also integrated into French cuisine via their ready consumption by Louisiana Cajuns and Creoles.

Here's a few recipes to wet the appetite: chayote recipes  -- that map the amazing versatility of the abused veg with some really tasty and exotic selections. Also here's an extensive list of choko recipe links that seem almost exhaustive: chayote recipes

Or for the Asiatic tastebud prone this is an easy winner: Pop’s Thai Friend’s Thai Chayote Squash Recipe as does the Vietnamese styled Sach ko char xu.

Bon appetit.





 

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