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Chayote: Photos and Health Benefits

Updated on April 27, 2014
Chayote (sechium edule) Also called pear squash or christophene.
Chayote (sechium edule) Also called pear squash or christophene. | Source

The chayote, or also known in other names as vegetable squash, pear squash, christophene is a pear-shaped fruit with a light green, thin skin. Native to Central America or Mexico, chayote was introduced around the world, and was known in the Philippines as the sayote plant.

From its pear-shaped fruit, to shoots, and even the edible tubers, this perennial plant is easy to grow and has beautiful heart-shape leaves. Also they could hold onto anything and can spread pretty fast.

And since I am going to start here with sharing our chayote plant photos, I would mention where our chayote came from. It started last year when a friend gave me few chayote fruits which also came from another friend of ours. But there's this one fruit, and it's a twin chayote by the way, which is already tough enough to be cooked and is ready to be planted. So mom planted it. And now it was wide awake from its winter slumber and ready to claim most of the patio space once again.

We started growing it last year but I just learned that they could hold into anything, which to me appears interesting seeing the tendrils hold into its own leaves, tendrils to tendrils, (kinda like holding hands?) just for the effort of getting into the bamboo stake nearby, and even attaching some tendrils into our sleek vinyl fence!

Just done with the first part of the trellis. And once they have occupied it, there would be the second part.
Just done with the first part of the trellis. And once they have occupied it, there would be the second part. | Source

Trellis idea for a fast growing chayote

This photo was taken last few days of March. I have to start making them a trellis before they start claiming the place. And they occupy their trellis pretty fast, so my plan for this year, to make a stronger base for the trellis and make it in layers, focusing on the first layer first.

Last year it got out of hand and our small patio looks like a jungle, a weak trellis falling off, as two chayote on both sides reaching for each others trellises, creating a somehow cave like entrance and we all have to bend down to go under to pick their fruits and water the other plants on the patio which is under their shades.

And here's a photo of those mighty tendrils getting hold of the leaf.
And here's a photo of those mighty tendrils getting hold of the leaf. | Source
Source
Be a good neighbor and lend me a..... hand? One chayote shoot getting hold of the bougainvilla.
Be a good neighbor and lend me a..... hand? One chayote shoot getting hold of the bougainvilla. | Source

Look at this, pretty impressive for me for this tendrils to be able to get hold of that smooth fence.

One time I had removed a tendril on the other side of the fence, from the other chayote plant as it had attached itself on the sleek fence like this one on the photo.



It was only mid April and the chayote plant had occupied the first part of the trellis I made. It would be grasping into anything it can get a hold of before the month of August. And with two chayote plants and a small patio, it would probably look another mini jungle.

And with me not being able to make the second part of the trellis yet, the shoots are popping their heads up, grasping into anything around them and there's a lot of them. So I was thinking of harvesting some of the shoots, and happens that mom shares the same idea with me when I had told her about it.

And since we got some of the shoots, more branching is expected, and that means more shoots to swallow the trellis. But I planned to really keep an eye on them this time with the help of a scissor. I could always harvest the unwanted shoots and give them to friends or neighbors.

Chayote shoots harvested April 12.
Chayote shoots harvested April 12. | Source
Making the chayote shoots ready for cooking.
Making the chayote shoots ready for cooking. | Source

Preparing the shoots for cooking!

With the leaves already separated from the stems, now I have to work on the stems. Photo showing peeling off the skin. It has to be removed so the stems wouldn't be tough to chew.

All done. Stems, leaves and tendrils separated.
All done. Stems, leaves and tendrils separated. | Source
Source
Source

And here's the mess I made when I was done: the tough stems and the peeled chayote skin.


Cooking with chayote shoots:


* Chayote shoots are good to be stir-fried with other vegetables such as baby corns, beans, cabbage, carrots or other vegetables available.

* Try including the shoots to stir-fried noodles.

* The stems, and both the leaves and tendrils is cook in Filipino dish together with squash, okra, eggplant and other vegetables in the Ilocano dish pinakbet.

* Another Filipino dish for the chayote shoots is the tinola.

* Chayote is breaded and enjoyed fried in Brazil.

* Just like potato, the fruit can also be boiled, and mashed or stuffed.

November of 2013, still having baby chayotes.

Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Chayote

1. Chayote is a good source of fiber, and with that, consuming it can help lower cholesterol level and lowers constipation risk.

2. For those having acne problems, chayote is a good source of zinc, and this mineral influences the responsible hormones for oil production in the skin.

3. With the K vitamin this plant has, chayote or sayote can help prevent osteoporosis and helps on the process of blood clotting.

4. Infusion of dried chayote leaves is used to help with hypertension, colds, bronchitis and arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries walls. It is also used in dissolving kidney stones.

5. Consuming chayote will help shield us against the free radicals because of its C vitamin.

6. Eat pear squash to prevent dealing with those cramps. Pear squash, chuchu or sayote provides magnesium and adding them to the diet can help prevent muscle cramps.


Twin chayote's from last year, 2012. I'd be seeing some more of these this year.
Twin chayote's from last year, 2012. I'd be seeing some more of these this year. | Source

Did you know?

* Chayote is a fruit thou we usually consume it as a vegetable.

* Chayote fruit is 94% made up of water.

* The fruit can be consumed either cooked or raw.

* It is usually the fruit that is seen sold on the market, but most parts of the plant is consumed and that includes the tuberous roots and even the seed.

* Choko, cho-cho, chuchu, chuw chuw, and centinarja are some other names for the chayote plant.

* Male sayote flowers comes in clusters, and single chayote flowers are the female ones.

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    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      4 years ago from USA

      Thanks Rajan. It is an interesting plant. Amazes me as it tries to hold to anything, even an slippery fence. And waiting for fruits for this year. Thanks for the visit here. :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Precy, I haven't seen this fruit this side of the world. Very interesting that almost the entire plant can be eaten.

      You have some lovely and interesting photos here. Good write up and introduction to Chayote.

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Avian ^-^' That means much to me. I did tried this hub to be something interesting with the photos as I didn't want this to be boring. Btw, the hummers just left their nest today. The second one left the nest today. And I'm lucky I got to see that, I hope its ok, it's perched on the roses when I left work today and I saw the mom feeding it. :) I'd publish their story next week as I wanted to wait on Monday and maybe I'd be able to see it again. I hope I will, and that's means little hummer is safe.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      precy anza, this is a fabulous piece. I also wish to tell you that your writing has improved so much since I have been following you. You're so organized and you can literally write about anything and make it so interesting. Awesome and up!

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      @ Carol:

      Have you had it baked or stuffed? I love chayote on stir fried vegetables. Also we just went to a Mexican grocery today and saw the spiny chayote. I usually see them on grocery stores but haven't tried that one. Thanks for stopping by!

      @ Drbj:

      Yeah. It is a semi hardy plant. After I made that first level of the trellis, it only took 2 weeks or so for the chayote to occupy it and they are branching again. :) Well, I kinda like the mini jungle it created last year, and spotted some birds checking out the area, but not the bending down part. :)

    • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

      precy anza 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks RTalloni and My Cook Book.

      It's really is interesting to observe the plant and learn about it :)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Interesting to learn about the chayote plant, precy. It seems to be a very hardy species that can quickly turn a patio into a jungle.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I love chayote...and buy itwhen it is available. We go to a Mexican grocery store in California and I stock up and we eat it all week. Thanks for this great hub and now I know how healthful it is. Voting up and pinning,

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      5 years ago from India

      Interesting hub on Chayote. I have gained knowledge on Chayote from this hub. Great work, thank you! I voted it UP and useful.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      5 years ago from the short journey

      Very interesting to learn so much about chayote in this nicely done hub. Thanks!

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