The Choko, Sechium edule, is also known as Chayote, vegetable pear or mango squash, and a variety of names throughout Asia. The fruit develops on a vigorous perennial vine, and is usually ready for picking from April through to June (Southern Hemisphere). The vine dies back during winter, and reshoots in spring. It appears that these plants were introduced to the rest of the world from Central America.
The plant can be easily grown from a fruit that has sprouted. The fruit can be planted in the ground, leaving the shoot above ground and it will start growing. It grows slowly initially, and once established it can be quite rampant. It is an ideal plant to grow in unused corner of the garden.
The plant rows well in warm climates, and fruit begins to form in Autumn when the evenings become cooler. The fruit can be harvested small and the entire fruit can be chopped to use in stir-fries. The larger fruit should be peeled as the skin is tough and has a few small spines on it, and cut in half to remove the seed.
The fruit can be diced and cooked in stews, baked in the oven, boiled or steamed. The fruit is extremely versatile as it can also be used as ‘fillers’ for pies (apple pies) and stews as it has a very mild, slightly sweet flavour. The fruit tends to take on the flavour of the food they are cooked with. They can also be pickled, or used for the bases for relishes.
Not only are the fruit edible, but the shoots, leaves and even the tubers can be eaten.