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Native to Central America, chayote is a plant used in dishes across the tropics and subtropics. Although there’s multiple parts of the plant — for example the shoots — that have culinary uses, when people say “chayote,” they’re usually referring to the gourd fruit.

Since the Spanish colonization of Mesoamerica and the ensuing Columbian Exchange, chayote has become integrated into the cuisines of the Caribbean, South America, Oceania, South and Southeast Asia, and the island nations of the Indian Ocean. 

The fruit has a rough, bright green skin and pale green to white flesh, appearing at first glance kind of like a bumpy pear. It has a subtly sweet flavor that’s fresh but very mild, meaning it’s usually cooked with many spices or alongside stronger ingredients that can help impart a stronger taste. 

Chayote is cooked in many different ways and is featured in various dishes — it can be fried, baked, braised; it can be in soups, stews, stir-fries, and curries; in salads, as a topping.  Additionally, it can be eaten raw, whether sliced thin, chopped, or a similar preparation. 

Like many gourds, chayote is high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. You can find chayote at Uwajimaya in our produce section.