What’s popping?! Did y’all miss me? No? Well take a COVID-19 free online snuggly hug! Courtesy of moi! Ok did that make any sense? Yeah, let me stick to writing this article. So, *rubs palms together* I have a treat today!
Something that is utilized by many and not so much by others in its regular form-chocho/chayote. But you know us, always digging and winning cases for even those we think are underdogs.
You read it correctly, this article’s feature is on black chayote! It’s giving me that black ninja or samurai vibe, especially when you say chayote slowly. Ok, getting off-topic! Let’s see what this type of squash has in store for us!
What Is Black Chayote?
Black chayote is a type of summer squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, also known as the gourd family. But let’s pause a little-does that family ring any bells? Yes, your memory is correct!
What Does Black Chayote Look Like?
Its fruit ranges in size of about 8 inches in length with a pear-like or bell-shaped structure. On the exterior, you will find sometimes vertical indents like deep incisions that are colorless, while at other times (mostly), the indentations are hardly there. In addition, the skin color of black chayote is usually dark green to black, hence, its name. With such dark skin the pulp is a total contrast, where it is pearly white with a beige core. The texture of the skin and pulp are hard/crunchy but once the skin is peeled/removed, then the pulp is cooked, you will find that it has a very soft texture.
Did you know– that some black chayote has spiny skin? Yes, not all of its species grow with smooth dark green or black skin. So, if you grow this vining plant and its fruit comes out like that, don’t be alarmed! The spines are just adding a little ‘buzz’ factor to the fruit. So, that also means that it is still edible!
What Does Black Chayote Taste Like?
It doesn’t have a far-off taste like its counterpart chayote. Black chayote has a mild and slightly sweet taste or flavor; where I call it an absorber, something like a sponge. This means that it absorbs the flavors within a pot/dish/meal with ease. I also find is that the flavor reminds me of cooked cucumber. Well, that is expected because cucumber is a part of the same family just a bit sweeter.
Many people use black chayote for culinary purposes like:
- Stir fry
- Chop suey
Please be advised that there are other culinary purposes that people use this fruit for which is not listed above. Other uses of black chayote for medicinal purposes.
A side note is that the plant’s heart-shaped leaves, flowers, and roots are also edible and are often consumed.
How To Eat It
Slice the fruit vertically in half after washing it. Once that is done, take each half and peel the skin off with the knife. Once you are done peeling, discard the skins in the trash. Ensure that you cut out the core of the black chayote, the top and bottom too! You can dice is it in any shape you prefer then cook as you please! And yes, some people eat it raw, I personally don’t do that. But hey! Do you and enjoy!
Recipes With Chayote
Where Can I Buy Black Chayote?
Chayote is quite more popular than its counterpart black chayote. But you will find that sometimes vendors at your local farmer’s market sell them alongside each other. Or at other times each by themselves. You can also try your local supermarkets too, for example; Walmart, HiLo, Best Choice, CR Vanguard just to name a few. And no there’s no promotion for these brands just a quick example. You could also try buying online if you realize everywhere you go has none.
Season and Storage
You can get black chayote all year round. Isn’t that amazing!? Only a few fruits can have this bragging right. As for storage, you can keep the whole black chayote refrigerated and it will keep for about 3 weeks before you start seeing some sprouts shooting out of the fruit. That’s if the squash has any seeds in its central core. Another method is to store in a zip resealable bag in its whole form or if peeled then chopped in the freezer.
Ever eating something and wonder-hmm I wonder what kind of nourishment I’ll get from this? No? What about– is this even healthy? Well, we are all about getting you the facts and be in the know. Under this section, we profile whatever the article is about into two sections- nutritional profile and health benefits. So, without further ado, let’s see what are some predominant components found in black chayote!
The following are components but not limited to, that is found in black chayote.
- Dietary fiber
- (Thiamine) Vitamin B1
- (Riboflavin) Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- (Pyridoxine) Vitamin B6
- (Folate). Vitamin B9
- (Ascorbic Acid). Vitamin C
- (Alpha-tocopherol) Vitamin E
- (Phytomenadione). Vitamin KMinerals:
12 Health Benefits of Black Chayote
Yes, it’s that time already! Drum roll please- It’s time for the health benefits of black chayote! In other words, what is black chayote good for? Let’s divulge on the top 3!
Top 3 Health Benefits of Black Chayote
- Potent Antioxidants
Black chayote has in the following components that researchers describe as potent; Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium, manganese (it is discovered that manganese is a part of the enzyme superoxide dismutase SOD, which is arguable, one of the most important antioxidants for your body), quercetin, myricetin, morin, and kaempferol. If we scout out even just one of these components, you will find that it has anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Can you guess which one it is? Let me give you a few seconds. *cues in Jeopardy Quiz Show music* Okay time is up! If you guessed myricetin then lucky guess! High five on that one. Cool properties, right? So, imagine having these components working together? Now, what do we always say about antioxidants? They neutralize the free radicals roaming in our bodies.
Free radicals are highly reactive, therefore can trigger or lead to the formation of destructive cells- for example, cancer. The antioxidants in black chayote also help to build damaged cells, slow down the aging process, provide healthy skin, reduce inflammation, reduce stress, improve brain functionality, improve eye health, improve the immune system, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and more! Simply amazing!
- May aid in digestion
Your digestive is actually quite important, and many overlook this. A good digestive system helps your body to get rid of toxins and waste through excretion and other processes.
The digestive tract or system alone helps with your immune system, absorbs nutrients, and like we stated prior, detoxifies your body. Some research studies imply that the flavonoids found in black chayote assist digestive enzymes to excrete waste from the body. Let’s not forget about fiber and phosphorus!
Fiber and phosphorus help to relieve constipation, prevent abdominal pain, loose tool, diarrhea, gastrointestinal symptoms, and bloating. Fiber and phosphorus present in black chayote help with removing these issues beforehand or during. Either which, they soothe the digestive system to function effectively.
- May improve liver function
The components found in black chayote are said to remove fat that lingers and accumulates in the inner walls of the liver which causes fatty liver diseases (PubMed Central, 2014). Having a fatty liver may lead to consequences for metabolic syndrome; such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (PubMed Central, 2014).
The liver is one of the organs in your body that assist the digestive system by helping to regulate the majority of the chemical levels (for example, blood sugar level) in the blood and expels a product called bile. This helps to carry away waste products from the liver. It also produces, stores, and releases glucose if the body requires it. So, you see having a healthy liver is important and black chayote knows this, hence, it has these components that do all this work! Just simply amazing *applauds*.
Other Health Benefits:
- Help with weight loss.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Lower hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Help to lower hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Improves brain functionality and memory.
- Assist with fetal development during pregnancy.
- Build strong bones, muscles, and teeth.
- Lower cholesterol.
- Packed with nutrients.
I bet you didn’t know that black chayote could be that good right? Like I said before it earned its bragging rights! Now you see where I was going with that black ninja or samurai vibes for it? *inserts satisfied smug emoji* Still no? Ok, let’s move on lol.
So, we have reached that point of the article again, where we say our goodbyes. But! Before we do that here’s a fun fact– Black chayote, just like chayote, is indigenous to Central Mexico and various parts of Latin America. But since it is the 21st century, it is now cultivated globally!
So, that means its name may vary from place to place. For example, in Jamaica, the regular light green chayote is called chocho. So, other names include chuchu (Brazil), custard marrow, vegetable pear, mirliton (Britain and Louisiana), christophine, choko, iskut, mango squash, xuxu and machuchu. There are far more names, but you get the drift.
So, with all that said and done, try black chayote now! You can even try the popular light green chayote too. I’ve tried it in many dishes and it never disappoints. Until next time my lovely h-steppers be safe and bon appétit!
P.s. I have no idea why I always say ‘enjoy your meal’ in French, it just comes naturally.