Recipe: Cracking the común chayote

Recipe: Cracking the común chayote

by Chrishonda Brown

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) is the perfect fall occasion to celebrate exotic flavors and ingredients from Spain, Mexico, the Carribean and Central and South America. One of these fruits, a proven family favorite, is the chayote.

The low-calorie chayote is a delicious treat, high in water and fiber and loaded with vitamin C, potassium and amino acids.

Although the chayote fruit is the most popular, the leaves, stem, root and seeds are edible as well. In fact, traditional folklore suggests that ancient royalty enjoyed the slight almond flavor of a single toasted chayote seed as a delicacy.

When preparing parts of the chayote, the root is cooked much like potatoes, while the leaves and stem work well in salads or cooked like greens. The flesh is often cooked like summer squash but can also be marinated in citrus juice or eaten raw in salsas and salads.

Chrishonda Brown, M.S. in kinesiology, is a guest columnist for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. For more recipes visit www.kidsacooking.org Like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KSREWyco and follow on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.

Mexican Vegetable Medley
Makes: 8 servings
5 small red potatoes
3 chayotes (not the prickly kind)
2 large zuchinni
2 lemons
1 4-oz jar of chile con limon seasoning
Directions:
Boil potatoes until soft. Chill, then peel and cut into 1-inch squares.
Boil chayotes until soft enough to prick with a fork. Cut into 1-inch squares.
Cut zuchinni into 1-inch suqares. Boil in water for about 5 minutes.
Mix all vegetables together in large bowl. Cut and squeeze the lemons into bowl and mix, thoroughly coating vegetables with lemon juice.
Sprinkle chile con limon over vegetables and mix. Add salt to taste.
Nutritional information for each serving: 106 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 24g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 4g sugars, 32mg sodium, 4g protein, 3% Vitamin A, 61% Vitamin C, 4% calcium, 8% iron.

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