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Growing Choko/Chayote, also Chayote squash, christophene, chouchou, mirliton

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                       

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Easy to grow. Plant whole mature fruit when one produces a shoot at one end.. Best planted at soil temperatures between 59°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 17 weeks. Best when fruit is light green and not more than 6cm long.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers
  • Choko (cayote) on vine
    Choko (cayote) on vine

Choko is only suitable for warmer climates. But frequent hot nights will slow flowering. Fruit production is highest when nightime temperatures range from 59-68°F (15-20°C). Plant in a warm, unused corner of the garden. Leave the shoot sticking out of the ground. It needs a long growing season, about 4 - 6 months. But in that time it will spread itself a lot and can be useful to cover old sheds or fences!

An average household would need one or two plants.

Leaves rather like cucumber and some prickles on the fruit. Some variation in fruit, with lighter green and few prickles depending on variety. The differences seem to be between countries eg USA, Australia, Malta.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Choko/Chayote

Chokos can be peeled and chopped to use in stews, soup or as a stir fry vegetable.
Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavour and is commonly served with seasonings e.g., salt, butter and pepper or in a dish with other vegetables and/or flavourings. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed or pickled

Your comments and tips

19 Dec 11, TRUDY (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Can anyone give me a recipe for choko pie as a desert. I have chokos growing madly on my vine and i am trying to think of different way to cook these great veges. Thanks Trudy
29 Mar 12, Catherine (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Trudy, Yes the much maligned Choko. I love the look of the plant, it's lush, no effort gardening AND you get fruit. I have it growing over up to the top storey of a inner city terrace. It screens the street off and makes for a very Mediterranean like view from my window. The only maintenance is the occasional clip to stop it 'decorating' the neighbours terrace as well. I have the same abundance of crop - try this one: Choko Chocolate Cake. Doesn't use many chokos but you can shock your guests after all the ohh and ahhing but revealing what the secret ingredient is. The choko gives it a fibre texture a bit like banana bread it makes for a very yummy cake. I can't post the website here but in the recipes section of the website 'Successful Gardening with Annette McFarlane', is the Chocolate Cake recipe along with others for Chokos. They also have other unusual fruit too - I can also recommend the LillyPilly Jam! Have fun. :) Cat
21 Apr 12, Sandra (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Catherine, thanks for the tip re the choko chocolate cake. I have had a look at it and noticed sugar is mentioned twice ie 1 1/2 cups and then later 1 cup. Is this a miss print? it just seems like a lot of sugar for 125g of butter. cheers, Sandra
05 Apr 14, jeanette (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
what is the food value of this plant?
14 Jul 15, James Ito (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Does the sprouting chayote need to be containerized 1ST or can it go directly into the Soil?
29 Apr 17, danny (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
what causes the the leaves to go powder like and kills the vine on the choko
30 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The white powdery coating on the leaves of your choko is an indicator of powdery mildew. This fungus affects many crops in late summer and autumn. Chokos, pumpkins, zucchinis and cucumber being some of the worst affected. Good air circulation and watering at the root rather than overhead is good insurance against this problem. I know of people who make a spray of 10% milk in water as an effective control. Alternatively you could spray the plant with a fungicide spray.

Hi Trudy, Yes the much maligned Choko. I love the look of the plant, it's lush, no effort gardening AND you get fruit. I have it growing over up to the top storey of a inner city terrace. It screens the street off and makes for a very Mediterranean like view from my window. The only maintenance is the occasional clip to stop it 'decorating' the neighbours terrace as well. I have the same abundance of crop - try this one: Choko Chocolate Cake. Doesn't use many chokos but you can shock your guests after all the ohh and ahhing but revealing what the secret ingredient is. The choko gives it a fibre texture a bit like banana bread it makes for a very yummy cake. I can't post the website here but in the recipes section of the website 'Successful Gardening with Annette McFarlane', is the Chocolate Cake recipe along with others for Chokos. They also have other unusual fruit too - I can also recommend the LillyPilly Jam! Have fun. :) Cat

- Catherine

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