Chayote squash is small to medium in size, averaging 10-20 centimeters in length, and has a pear-like shape with deep linear indentations, folds, or puckers that run vertically along the fruit's skin that meet at its flower end. The pale green rind is thin, smooth, firm, and edible but is often discarded because of its tough nature. The creamy white flesh is crisp to starchy and becomes succulent to cottony as it matures, and the central core contains one small, edible seed. Chayote squash is crunchy and very mild with a slightly sweet taste and light notes of cucumber.
Chayote squash is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, stir-frying, boiling, steaming, and baking. When young, they can be sliced or shredded in salads and slaws along with ingredients such as citrus, cabbage, arugula, and fresh herbs. They can also be pickled and preserved. When ripe, Chayote squash can be peeled, sliced, and added to soups, stews, curries, and casseroles. Fully mature Chayote can be boiled and mashed or slow-roasted and served as potato as an accompaniment to main courses featuring grilled meats and fish. When slicing into the raw fruit, it is recommended to wear gloves as the squash secretes a sticky, nontoxic residue which may cause some irritation to sensitive skin. Chayote pairs well with chili peppers, cream-based sauces, curry, garlic, onions, both soft and hard cheeses, melon, cumin, coriander, oregano, cilantro, lemon or lime juice, almonds, and coconut milk.
They will keep up to four weeks when wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a plastic bag, and stored in the refrigerator.
Sauteed Chayote Squash
4 chayote squash
3 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Chopped chives, parsley, and/or grated Parmesan cheese, garnish