Chayote

Culinary and medicinal uses
Although most people are familiar only with the fruit, the root, stem, seeds, and leaves are all edible.

Phat yot sayongte: Thai for stir-fried chayote shoots
The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw in salads. Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavor by itself, and is commonly served with seasonings (e.g., salt, butter and pepper in Australia) or in a dish with other vegetables and/or flavorings. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed, baked, fried, or pickled in escabeche sauce. Both fruit and seed are rich in amino acids and vitamin C. Fresh green fruit are firm and without brown spots or signs of sprouting. Smaller ones are more tender.
The tuberous part of the root is starchy and eaten like a yam (can be fried). It can be used as pig or cattle fodder as well as being eaten by humans.
The leaves and fruit have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties, and a tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and to dissolve kidney stones.
In Taiwan, chayotes are widely planted for their shoots, known as lóng xü cài (???, literally "dragon-whisker vegetable"). Along with the young leaves, the shoot is a commonly consumed vegetable in the region.
In Thai cuisine, the plant is known as sayongte (Thai: ????????) or fak maeo (Thai: ???????, literally meaning "Miao melon"). It grows mainly in the mountains of northern Thailand. The young shoots and greens are often eaten stir-fried or in certain soups.
In Brazil and other latin countries it is used in salads, soups or soufflés. The younger spikeless fruits may be eaten raw.
Many cultures have found that if the harvest of chayote is abundant, it is cheaper to use it as food for pigs or cattle than the usual commercial feed.

Folklore
"Apple pie"
In Australia, where it is called choko, a persistent rumour has existed that McDonald's Apple Pies were made of chokos, not apples. This eventually led McDonald's to emphasise the fact that real apples are used in their pies. This legend was based on an earlier belief that tinned pears were often disguised chokos. A possible explanation for the rumour is that there are a number of recipes extant in Australia, that advise chokos can be used in part replacement of canned apples to make the fruit go farther, in making apple pies. This likely arose because of the economies of "mock" food substitutes during the Depression Era, shortages of canned fruit in the years following World War II, and the fact apples do not grow in many tropical and sub-tropical parts of Australia making them scarce. Chokos, on the other hand, grow extensively in Australia, with many suburban backyards featuring choko vines growing along their fence lines.
Another possible reason for the rumour of McDonald's Apple Pies containing chokos was that it was thought that apples would degenerate and become soggy and inedible in a McDonald's Pie whereas chokos are well known to retain their firmness and consistency after cooking, freezing, and re-heating. It was thought that the "chunks" of apple in the pie were in fact chunks of choko, and the sauce and filling were simply a spiced apple flavoured concoction.
Mummies
Due to its purported cell-regenerative properties, it is believed as a contemporary legend that this fruit caused the mummification of people from the Colombian town of San Bernardo who extensively consumed it. The very well-preserved skin and flesh can be seen in the mummies today.

Alternative names
Chayote (English pronunciation: /t?a?'o?ti?/ ( listen)) is the Spanish name of the plant, from Nahuatl: chayohtli (pronounced (t??a'jo?t?i). It is used in many parts of Spanish-speaking Latin America and in the US. Worldwide, it is known by many other names:
Africa
Mauritius: chouchou
Réunion Island: chouchou
Madagascar: saosety
Malawi: shushu
Seychelles: sousout
South Africa: chouchou
America
Barbados: christophene
Brazil: chuchu (xuxu)
Belize: "cho-cho"
English Caribbean: christoferine, christophene, cho-cho
Colombia: Guatila (Cundinamarca) Guasquilla (Boyacá) Citrayote (Putumayo) or Sidra (Caldas). Another popular and vulgar name is papa de los pobres (Spanish for 'potatoes of the poor")
Dominican Republic and Nicaragua: tayota (ta'j?ta)
Ecuador: Citrayote (Pichincha), Citrayota (Tungurahua), Chayote (Amazon provinces), Papamelo (Coastal provinces, Spanish for 'potato melon')
El Salvador: "güisquil"
French Antilles: christophene, christophine
Guatemala-El Salvador-Honduras: The dark green variety is labeled güisquil, the yellowish-white variety perulero and the more common light-green variety pataste.
Haiti: mirliton
Jamaica: "chocho", "Chow Chow"
Louisiana (Cajun, Creole, English): mirliton (sometimes spelled merliton) but pronounced in New Orleans and surrounding parishes as "mel-a-tawn"
Mexico: chayote
Trinidad and Tobago: christophene
United States of America: mirliton; slang term: old people lips
Paraguay: Papa del aire
Panama and Puerto Rico: "Chayote"
Asia
China (Cantonese): ??? fut sao gwa (lit. Buddha hand melon), ??? hup jeung gwa (lit. closed palm melon)
China (Mandarin): ??? (pinyin: fó shou gua, lit. "Buddha hand melon")
Hmong of Laos: "Taub Thaj" (Tau tah), "Taub Maum" (Tau Mau)
India (Kannada): Seemae BaDhneKayi (???? ????????)
India (Telugu):(Telugu): ??? ????? Seema vankaya or ???????? ????? Bengaluru vankaaya
India (Tamil): "chocho" or "Chow Chow" (Tamil: ?? ??), "bengaluru katharikkai" (Tamil: ????????? ????????????)
India (Darjeeling): Ishkus
India (Mizoram): Iskut
India (Himachal Pradesh): Launkdu
India (Manipur): DasGoos, Gussii (Mao language)
Indonesia: labu siam (lit. Siamese pumpkin), jipang or waluh (Jav.), lèjèt (Sun.)
Japan: hayatouri (?????)
Malaysia: English cucumber
Myanmar: gorakha thee (lit. Gurkha fruit)
Nepal: iskus (??????)
Philippines: sayote
Thailand: fak maeo
Vietnamese: su su, trai su (trái su)
Sri Lanka: "Chocho"
Europe
Croatia: meksicki krastavac
Czech republic: cajot
Finland: Kajottikurpitsa
France: christophine, chouchou
Italy: zucca centenaria
Malta: centinarja
Norway: chavote
Poland: kolczoch jadalny
Portugal: chuchu, xuxu, pimpinela
Russian: chayot,
Slovenia: cajota
Turkey: "dikenli kabak" , "kibris kabagi" , "amcik kabagi"
United Kingdom (England): chouchou
Oceania
Australia and New Zealand: choko
Hawaii: pipinola
Papua New Guinea: sako, kru sago (tender shoots and stems)

Other places
English-speaking countries: chouchou, chocho, cho-cho, mango squash, vegetable pear

Taxonomy
The plant was first recorded by modern botanists in P.Browne's 1756 work, the Civil and Natural History of Jamaica. In 1763 it was classified by Jacquin as Sicyos edulis and by Adanson as Chocho edulis. Swartz included it in 1800 in its current genus Sechium.

In the most common variety, the fruit is roughly pear shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length. It looks like a green pear and it has a thin green skin fused with the white flesh, and a single large flattened pit. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and a texture described as a cross between a potato and a cucumber. Although generally discarded, the seed has a nutty flavour and may be eaten as part of the fruit.
Chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but it is a climbing plant that will grow onto anything and can easily rise as high as 12 meters when it can reach a tree or house. Its leaves are heart-shaped, 10–25 cm wide and with tendrils on the stem. The flowers are cream-colored or somewhat green that come out beneath a leaf or branch. If the plant is male, the flowers will show in clusters. The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise.

The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as christophene, vegetable pear, mirliton, choko (in Australia and New Zealand), starprecianté, citrayota, citrayote (Ecuador and Colombia), chuchu (Brazil), chow chow (India) Sayote (Philippines) ,güisquil (Guatemala, El Salvador), or pear squash, iskus (??????) (Nepal) is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
Chayote is native to Mesoamerica where it is a very important ingredient to the diet. Other warm regions around the globe have been successful in cultivating it as well. The main growing regions are Costa Rica and Veracruz, Mexico. 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 Spanish, borrowed from 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 both raw and cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, and it is often marinated with lemon or lime juice. It can also be eaten straight, although the bland flavour makes this a dubious endeavor. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.
Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as edible, the root, stem, seeds, and leaves are as well. The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables while the shoots and leaves are often consumed in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia. Like other members of the gourd family such as cucumbers, melons, and squash, chayote has a sprawling habit, and it should only be planted if there is plenty of room in the garden. The roots are also highly susceptible to rot, especially in containers, and the plant in general is finicky to grow. However, in Australia and New Zealand it is an easily grown yard garden plant, set on a chicken wire support or strung against a fence.