chayote sliceCrisp, refreshing with the texture and color of a granny smith apple but with a mildly earthy flavor similar to a zucchini.

chayoteChayote is a member of the family Cucurbitaceae, which makes it a relative of zucchini, cucumber, and other melons and gourds. It is native to Mexico but has made its way around the world in appropriate growing climates. Chayote is a popular ingredient in cuisines found around the world ranging from Asia/India, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. southern states.

From a culinary perspective, chayote is an interesting ingredient. It is subtle in flavor and maintains its texture and density even after it is prepared. It can be added to stir fries, stews, soups, sautéed, boiled, baked and even enjoyed raw in salads or as a side dish or garnish. Because its flavor is subtle and kind of sweetly earthy, it can be a great addition to dishes both savory and sweet.

chayote chopFrom a health perspective, chayote is a really great source of vitamins, minerals and some great phytonutrients. All parts of the chayote plant are edible; fruit, seed, stem, leaves, and roots and they all seem to have some medicinal property. It has all the benefits of the other cucurbita relatives. It’s a great source of vitamins C, B, and A, as well as a wide variety of minerals including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium. Studies have shown significant benefit to eye and vision problems including degenerative diseases. The fiber and phytonutrients are beneficial to digestive health and immune function. Research has demonstrated a beneficial impact on blood glucose maintenance, making it a valuable resource for insulin resistance and diabetes. Chayote has a reputation for its cellular regenerative and anti-aging properties. Additionally, it appears to have the ability to help cells not only repair damage produced by cancer but also stimulates the mutated cells to deconstruct.