You may have seen chayote or as it is called in Guatemala, güisquil at the supermarket, but
never knew what it was. Well now you do. Chayote is a popular vegetable in
Guatemala and is a member of the gourd family along with melons cucumbers and squash.
Like other members of this family, chayote can be eaten raw or cooked. The flesh
has a texture similar to a potato with a pit in the center that is usually
discarded but could be eaten.
When cooked, chayote is often treated like a zucchini or summer (yellow) squash and lightly
cooked to retain its crispness and flavor but slightly tender. When used raw it
is crispy and crunchy and added to salads as well as in a ceviche type dish
marinated in lime juice.
Most chayote is imported to the USA from the Veracruz area in Mexico. When shopping for
chayote, look for a green pear-shaped fruit with deep ridges in the skin. Even
though the fruit will have some wrinkles it should be firm without any brown
spots or bruising. Chayote has a very mild flavor and easily adapts to the
flavors around it. In Guatemala it is popular used in soups and envuelto
(dipped in egg batter).
It may not be the prettiest thing, but is sure is tasty. So the next time you see chayote at the supermarket, pick it up and take it home and use it like you would any other summer time squash. Tonight I will be making a version
of chilaquilas using chayote, so look for that recipe soon.