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Growing Chayote-Vegetable Pear

By Edited Aug 21, 2016 2 11


Sechium edule

Chayote Plant


   Chayote is said to have originated in Mexico, but can now be found throughout the world if you know where to look. It is a member of the gourd family but certainly doesn't look like a gourd.

   In mild-winter areas it grows as a perennial. Frost will kill back the tops but the vine renews itself in spring if the ground does not freeze. Chayote is fast growing and best supported by a trellis or fence. Flowers appear in late summer and fruit is ready for harvest about a month later, and will continue until frost.

   Plant chayote in the spring after all frost danger has passed. The whole fruit is used as the seed and can be obtained from the market. Place the fruit on a slant with the wide end down, stem end slightly exposed. The vines are vigorous and grow quite large; one plant can produce 3 or more dozen fruits. Vines need about 6 months of warm, frost-free weather to bear a usable crop.


   In cold climates mulch the roots heavily with compost or similar material for winter protection. Then pull the mulch aside in spring at sprouting time. The growing plant will need plenty of water and fertilizer but not too much nitrogen, which will produce excessive vine growth.

   Pick chayote when it is 4 to 6 inches long. Store fruits in a cool place; they will keep for 2 to 3 months for eating later or for seeding in the spring. If the plant sends out shoots in storage, which is likely, cut them back to 2 inches when you plant.

   Chayote can be used in more ways than squash.

Chayote Side Dish

It may be diced and steamed until tender, stuffed and baked, marinated and cooked for use in cold salads, pickled or candied.

Sauted With Shrimp

   A favorite food of many Mexican cooks, it takes seasonings well and complements many dishes. Young chayote can be cooked without peeling. Large fully mature fruit will have a tough skin. Cut into slices, right through the flat inner seed. It has a nut like like flavor after cooking.


Stuffed Chayote
Use like a squash - steam, bake, stuff or fry.

Good-quality chayote will be firm, unblemished and light to medium-green in color. The skin may be either smooth or rough.

Avoid product that is soft or blemished.

Chayote Squash is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It's also a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and an excellent source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.


Jun 22, 2011 3:57pm
|tried to grow this last year but was not successful maybe because it was too cold here in Toronto. I will try again next year, thanks for the picture on how to plant, I buried the whole thing last time!
Jun 23, 2011 9:31am
Thanks MoGo.
Jun 22, 2011 6:57pm
I've always loved chayote but didn't know much else about it except how to eat it. My favorite is diced in a salad. Thanks for the education!
Jun 23, 2011 9:33am
Thanks for the visit. My favorite way is to bake and stuff with crab meat.
Jun 26, 2011 8:32am
This is another one of those things that have different names from what I can see. At least I think it is what we call choko. We used it in everything but I have only grown them once myself. great pics and info
Jun 26, 2011 1:14pm
Thanks eileen. I think you're right, I've heard people say that it has many different names.
Jun 27, 2011 4:07am
Great interesting article. I shall have to try out some of your suggestions on this interesting (new to me) foodstuff.
Jul 6, 2011 7:07pm
I like chayote. It kind of reminds me of prickly pear in texture. Really nice article!
Jul 7, 2011 10:50am
Thanks, I think it has the texture of apple
Jan 23, 2012 3:48pm
I accidentally grew one of these. It came off of a truck at work and it was unusual looking so I took it home to try it. Well, I forgot about it and the seed started to protrude from the bottom of the fruit. So I decided to keep it to see what it would do. Next thing I know there was a stem coming out of the seed (seed is still partially inside the fruit) It is about 12 inches now, with little leaves and the body of the fruit is just continuing to shrink. I put it in a shallow glass of water and in literally HOURS it grew roots. I want to plant this but I live in Ohio and it is the middle of winter. I kinda feel bad for it, it wants so badly to thrive. Any suggestions?
Jan 24, 2012 12:18pm
I'd plant it in a large pot with soil, put it somewhere where it will get good light, but not in a drafty area. Keep it moist, then when all danger of frost is gone transplant outside. Good luck.
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