Choko /Chayote Sechium Edule/

An unusual perennial vine that produces a firm green or white fruit that has a reputation as being bland and boring, but if harvested small is delicious.
It is a hardy and highly productive plant that deserves more attention as a staple crop.

Uses

Usage

Tender shoots, tendrils and the young leaves are stir-fried or added to curries. A couple of choko plants grown in a pot will supply the house with tender stir-fry greens.
Chokos, picked when very small are delicious with a zucchini-like flavour. Steam them whole, or chop and throw in a stir-fry.
A white variety can be eaten raw when small out of hand like an apple or in salads like a cucumber.
Choko’s while still young and with smooth skin can be added to soups, baked, sliced in a stir-fry, marinated and barbequed, stuffed, and even used to replace apple in sweet pie and crumble recipes.
Its firm texture and ability to absorb flavours works especially well with the spicy, salty and sweet flavours of a traditional Thai curry.
Split them in half and eat the tender seed raw!
Root tubers of plants at least 2 years old are delicious steamed or baked and taste similar to sweet potato.

Production Requirements

Climate

Grow as a perennial in the tropics and as an annual in cooler climates.

Cultivation

It grows best in a sheltered position in a well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil.
The plant generally grows well in full sun, but will produce higher yields when grown in light shade.
Space plants about 1m apart on a strong trellis.

Propagation

To grow choko you need a mature fruit from a friend or buy one from the market. Keep it in a shady place until it sprouts, and then plant in the ground to a third of its length with the widest end downwards.
Give it a strong trellis.

Edible parts

Tender shoots, tendrils and the young leaves.
Choko fruit and tubers.

Risks and weed potential

Risks and weed potential

Harvesting & Processing

Harvest

Harvest chokos straight from the vine when they are about the size of an egg for the best flavour and texture.
Harvest frequently and when small to keep the plant productive.
If fruits are allowed to grow to maturity the plant will slow productivity for the season.

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