What is chayote or christophine


The chayote (Sechium edule), also called christophine (French Antilles, French Guiana), (chouchou in Reunion, Mauritius), pampers (New Caledonia, French Polynesia) or kazoo in Haiti, is a perennial plant of the gourd family

cultivated in warm climates as a vegetable for its edible fruit maturity.
The term also refers to the fruit which is eaten as a vegetable.

The origin of chayote.

The word “chayote” comes from the Spanish Chayote who himself comes from the Nahuatl word that means the chayotli fruit. The Spanish word, chinchayote designating the plant.

Description of chayote.

It is a perennial tuberous its strain, but it is not cold hardy in temperate climates. It gives long stems, several meters long, climbing by tendrils trifid. The tubers contain 10-15% starch, are edible when young.

Leaves, 10 to 20 centimeters long, are entire, venation palmate, with five pointed lobes and a heart-shaped base.

The small flowers, yellow or greenish-white, are monoecious (separate sexes on the same plant). The male flowers are in clusters, female flowers solitary, all appearing in the axils of leaves.

The fruit is a large bay about ten centimeters long, pear-shaped quirky, irregular ribbed. It is creamy yellow or pale green and has, unlike other cucurbits, a single seed. This seed is very large, thin-coated, difficult to extract from the fruit.

It is sometimes said that this plant is “viviparous” because the seed germinates inside the fruit fell to the ground.

Cultivation of chayote.

Plantation favorites in Salazie, reunion island

Culture requires a fresh soil, deep, well loosened and well smoked, and a warm climate.

Propagation is by planting the fruit early in late winter in a sheltered and warm. The plant is then introduced in the spring, the month of May in the northern hemisphere.

Harvesting takes place around the month of November. Six months of heat are necessary for fruit ripening. Chayote needs to be trellised to thrive.

The strain can remain in soil for several years provided that the effective protection against freezing.

The favorite vegetable is a favorite meeting, its production is a specialty of Salazie. chayote grows very well in Corsica and gives a lot of fruit.

Culinary use of chayote

Fruits put up with the same way as zucchini, they are also preparing stew or gratin (stuffed christophines). They can also be used in salads, from young fruits, raw or slightly cooled after cooking, and shredded. They also make excellent soups, creams and velvety. At the Reunion island, or a favorite chayote was once used mainly in crude or gratin.

There are also sweet dishes made ​​from chayote and compotes, jams, or “chayote cake” at Reunion island.

The young tender shoots, called “brèdes darling” at the Reunion island, can be prepared fried in a pan of beans as they recall the taste.

The root of the chayote (the Chinte) can be broken down into sticks and prepared as French fries. Rustic in appearance, yet it has a nice texture. This tuber is also known as ichintal in Guatemala, El Salvador chintla or Chinta, or echinta patastilla Honduras and raiz of chayote in Panama.

In Colombia, it is generally used as any tuber, replacing potatoes in some places it is used as food fodder for domestic animals, cattle or pigs.

He assigned slimming properties and cell regeneration.

Other uses of chayote.

The dried stalks were used for the island of Reunion to make hats (straw hats pet specialty Salazie) formerly marketed in Europe under the name "Italian Straw Hat"!

The pulp of the fruit raw, astringent, used as a mask was deemed to erase the stains on the face. Was attributed to the fruit medicinal properties to promote lactation and cure whooping cough.

Varieties of chayote.

There are three varieties in Mexico are grown:

– A pale green variety pear-shaped;
– A small variety of cream;
– One last dark green more difficult.

Enjoy the dish with chayote.

More posts here about creole cuisine.

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