Sayote or Chayote in English ( scientific name Sechium edule ) is a fruit, but is eaten as a vegetable. This summer squash originated from Mexico, and are now commonly cultivated throughout tropical and subtropical regions around the world. A fruit that belongs to the gourd family, these have fast growing climbing vines, it bears small white flowers, and a vibrant green colored large pear-shaped bumpy looking fruit with a mild taste and bountiful health benefits.
A short Introduction
Sayote in English, ‘Chayote squash’ (pronounced chai-ow-tay ) is a thin skinned Mexican squash. A member of the gourd family that may seem like a novelty in the United States, but these are commonly available in the Southwestern area, and various parts of Latin America where it’s called ‘chocho’ or ‘mirliton’. This was first cultivated in Mexico and Honduras where it was one of the first foods introduced in the Old World during the Columbian Exchange. It was then spread through different parts of the Americas in the 19th century, being integrated into many Latin American cuisines. Then around the world where it’s taken many different names like ‘Choko’ in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, ‘Foshugua’ in China, ‘Christophene’ in the United Kingdom and Eastern Caribbean, ‘Chow chow’ in India, and many more.
The Chayote plant is technically a fruit but is eaten similarly to a summer squash, melon, or cucumber. All parts of the sayote are edible, from the bright light green skin that softens when cooked, to the soft seeds, even using the leaves and flowers similarly to leafy greens.
In some chayote recipes, you might even find them eaten raw in salads, maintaining their crispy texture. But are more often cooked, adding meats like pork, shrimp, or other seafoods for extra flavor and texture. These are also used as an additional fiber filling in vegetarian and vegan meals.
Sayote benefits (Chayote benefits)
This light green squash packers refreshing nutritional punch. An edible fruit-vegetable that’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, potent antioxidants, is fibrous and is low in calories. It provides the following help to the body:
- Improves liver health, fatty liver disease is caused by the buildup of fats. The Chayote Squash improves metabolism and reduces fatty acid deposits.
- Helps regulate blood sugar control, being high in fiber.
- Helps support weight loss, consuming fiber rich foods causes the body to feel fuller for longer, making you eat less.
- Slows signs of aging, these reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which is a risk for cognitive decline and cell damage for older adults.
- Great for pregnant women and those who are trying to get pregnant. This fruit-vegetable has Folate, an essential nutrient needed for the fetus’ brain development and spinal cord.
* There are no notable side effects of Chayote, that being that if you do plan to use these, do make sure to wash these thoroughly to avoid any harmful parasites and bacteria.
What is Sayote to the Philippines ?
The sayote is a versatile dish in the Philippines, this fruit is called ‘The Poor man’s vegetable’ due to it being versatile and filling at the same time. The fruit and sayote leaves are used almost in any sauteed dish as an additional fiber filler to make the dish fuller and colorful. This green papaya looking vegetable was brought during the Spanish colonization, the name coming from the Spanish ‘Chayote’ or ‘Chaiote’. These can be stuffed, mashed,into soups, sauteed or fried, baked, or pickled.
Here is a list of sayote recipes:
- Ginisang sayote with shrimp and pork, in English ‘Stir fried chayote with shrimp and pork’, a familiar dish in many Filipino households. As the name states, it’s sayote, stir fried with aromatics and sauces, adding shrimp and pork for more flavor and protein.
- Other versions include; Ginisang sayote with chicken, or the simplified Ginisang sayote with oyster sauce, or Ginisang Sayote with Itlog (sauteed sayote with egg)
- Tortang sayote, which is an omellete version with added chayote.
- Ginataang manok with papaya, is a dish made of chicken and sayote simmered in coconut milk and other spices.
- Talibos ng sayote, uses the chayote leaves cooked with canned sardines. a n affordable delicious meal to pair with rice.
- Tuna with cabbage and Sayote, another affordable but yummy recipe that’s a healthy toss of flavors and health benefits.
- Achara, using sayote for picking, gives a refreshing taste.
If you are looking for an interesting ingredient to add into your diet, why not try the Sayote? It’s an easy and versatile ingredient that can be added to any savory dish without disrupting the flavor, adding fiber and more essential nutrients, making the dish even better!