I quite like it when I stroll around a supermarket and find something I have neither seen or even heard of before. This definitely applies to the chayote. I saw this green fruit (?), looking like a cross between a small guava and humorous body parts, and couldn’t resist.
When I got it home, I looked it up to see what it is, and it is a fruit from Central America, but not a guava. Instead it is from the curcubita family, which includes gourds, melons, squash and cucumbers. I like two of those, so I figured there was an even chance of this being to my taste.
When cut open it has a seed in the middle which is soft, and glistened like it was quite juicy, while the skin exuded a very thin but tacky liquid. So far, not so appealing. But what do you do with it? It appears most people use it like a squash, though some enjoy it peeled and raw. Obviously I had to try both.
Raw, it has quite a pear like texture, and a gentle flavour to me somewhere like a cross between a guava and a mild onion. Not very unpleasant, but I still don’t think I’ll tuck into that for a snack. So I looked up some recipes, and being me I went for a curry version, as that is how I prefer squash.
I started by just frying it with a little salt and pepper to try to soften it like, say, celery, but it didn’t seem to work. It actually got firmer, and wasn’t very pleasant. Turning it into a curry also didn’t improve the situation, and it is rare that I say that. The texture just isn’t that good, and the flavour doesn’t penetrate like it does with a good squash. Sorry, Chayote, I will leave you in the supermarket next time.