The chayote is a pear-shaped squash that possesses a mild nutty flavor similar to that of butternut squash. The skin of this "vegetable pear" can often be covered in spiny hairs that can be removed by gently scrubbing. The skin of chayote can be tough, especially those of larger squash, and should be removed. You can easily dispatch it with a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, but take additional precautions because the chayote's spiny skin isn’t the only hazard.
Thoroughly rinse the chayote in cold running water. If the chayote has bothersome prickles, lightly scrub to remove them.
Take a vegetable peeler and carefully remove the skin from the chayote, holding the peeler in your dominant hand and peeling away from your body. If you don't have a vegetable peeler you can use a sharp paring knife to carefully remove the skin. You should wear rubber gloves while peeling chayote because it releases a sticky sap that can cause skin irritation and numbness.
Trim the ends -- the base and the stem -- with a sharp knife to remove any excess skin. Rinse the chayote once all of the peel has been removed to eliminate any excess sap. Prepare as desired.
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- The Joy of Cooking; Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
- Nutrition and You: Chayote Nutrition Facts
- The Los Angeles Times: Chayote: The Most Delicious Squash You've Never Heard Of
- Chayote can be enjoyed raw in fresh salads or cooked, cut in half and baked like acorn squash or added to everything from soups to stir-fries.
- Chayote pairs particularly well with cheese.
- The irritating sap exuded by chayote disappears when cooked.
- The skin irritation and numbness caused by chayote sap has no long lasting consequences but you should avoid exposure by wearing rubber gloves or peeling chayote under running water.
Christina Kalinowski is a writer from the Twin Cities who began her career in 2011. She contributes food and drink related articles to The Daily Meal. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from Purdue University.
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