Chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton (Creole/Cajun), chuchu (Brazil), Cidra (Antioquia, Caldas, Quindio and Risaralda regions of Colombia), Guatila (Boyacá and Valle del Cauca regions of Colombia), Centinarja (Malta), pimpinela (Madeira), Pipinola (Hawaii), pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, choko, güisquil (El Salvador), Labu Siam (Indonesia), Squash, Ishkus or Chowchow (India), Pataste (Honduras),Tayota (Dominican Republic), Sayote (Philippines) is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
Chayote is originally native to Mexico where it grows abundantly and has little commercial value. It has been introduced as a crop all over Latin America, and worldwide. The main growing regions are Brazil, Costa Rica, Veracruz, Mexico and Abkhazia . Costa Rican chayotes are predominantly exported to the European Union, whereas Veracruz is the main exporter of chayotes to the United States.
The word chayote is a Spanish derivative of the Nahuatl word chayohtli. Chayote was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The Age of Conquest also spread the plant south from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.
The chayote fruit is used in mostly cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Though rare and often regarded as especially unpalatable and tough in texture, raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, most often marinated with lemon or lime juice. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of vitamin C.