Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

My chokoes are away! Gone troppo! So many tendrils, so much fruit.

I previously suggested a range of choko recipes -- HERE-- that served my preferences. However as the season advances my experiments with a core salsa approach have been very fulfilling and delicious.

 There are many ways  Chokoes can be prepared -- and many of those ways have soured the tastebuds  irreparably of our children.  Some of these youngsters even grow to hate the humble Choko as passionately as they may hate a football team other than their own.

But there's a few tricks with Chokoes.

  1.     Harvest the fruits when still small and young. They are crunchy like seedless Lebanese cucumbers and more versatile than Zuchini.
  2. Pick them at around 4-8 cm long and don't peel them. the skin is soft and very thing, thinner than that on a cucumber or apple.
  3. Chokoes grown for small fruit harvest are more productive, easier  to grow and with fewer (actually none of the) fungal issues suffered by  Zuchinis.Ditto for cucumbers: choko much more realiable than cucumbers..


This is my basic DIY:

    Chop up the Chokoes into little squares
    And do the same with cucumber and/or honey dew melon and/or (tart)green apple and/or Jicama/Yam Bean. (Other options: chopped or grated carrots or diced sweet peppers (Capsicums), or chopped  young Turnips)
    Finely chop some spring onions and mix the lot together. Garlic is another addition that can be included to taste.
    Add a chopped tomato (or more) -- sprinkle a little salt over and stir.Let the juices sweat.
    fold in a chopped herb of your choice (eg:parsley, mint, basil, coriander, oregano, dill...)
    Add a chopped chilli if that is your tastebud way.
    Squirt in some white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or  lemon or lime juice. You could add a little sugar to the vinegar if you like it sweet.
    Add a wee dash of olive oil and toss. Maybe you could grind over some black pepper.
    Let rest for 10+ minutes...

Serve as a side salad/salsa or a dressing on meat or vegetables. Goes well on/in jacket baked potatoes too or as topping on a roll, or in a cheese jaffle. 

My next quest is a good choko pickle.I don't like pickle mush so i prefer short duration pickling -- one week turnabout, sort of like a marinated salad.

This is my sort of Choko Pickle-- and one that I'll make over the next few days. I prefer the Asian style pickles, via a lot of Turkish inspiration.

With some cooking, here's a Mexican variation: Picked Chayote Salad.

In Louisiana, chokoes are called Mirlitons  and this easy prickle is of my preferred style:

And from Japan:

And here's a must read usage--and bookmark -- of Chokoes from Southern India.

And from the north, with yogurt:

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Since I'm choko obsessed I came upon this stunning Chinese recipe:Cold Chayote  which lends itself to adaption.

Chinese name: 凉拌佛手瓜 (liáng bàn fó shǒu guā)
Characteristics: Cold Chayote tastes fresh, crispy and tender with attractive color.

Cold Chayote is a home-style dish, made mostly from sweet pepper and chayote (vegetable pear). Chayote is a healthy food, containing high protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals but with low heat and sodium. It is said that eating chayote helps build up the body's resistance to diseases and can enhance one's brainpower.

'Prickly ash seeds' are Sichuan pepper.

Feed to the dog .

I've finally got my choko vine going and out of reach of possums and I absolutely love it. They're so abundant and I even quite like the full-grown fruit (shock!), although they're not as delicious as the babies. I reckon you could make a bit of money marketing baby chayote to foody types.

I'm even considering planting one just to be used for shoots, as well.

Using shoots and picking fruit off the same vine keeps the super-abundance in check.

You mean the tendrils -- the shoots off the mains stems -- and not shoots off the fruit in the ground?

But the babies are crispy delicious and very versatile. I prefer them to the scallopini/mini squashes in many ways and they're much easier to grow.

When the vines  get  away from you and the fruits grow big, consumption is another recipe. Here the menu options are so narrow -- bake or 'steam' -- so it is worth looking offshore for appreciation. Indeed the 'squashes' -- Cucurbits -- are disrespected, when other cuisines utilize them in so many ways. 

I call 'tendrils' the fine parts which curl around objects to anchor the plant. There's little flesh on them.

I mean the ends of the stems where the flowers and fruits form. On my one plant alone - and this is 3 years old now, cut down each year - there are so many stems that we would never cope with the fruits. So I snap off a number of them and have an Asparagus-like stem with leaves, tendrils, flowers and tiny fruits. Chop up and steam or stir-fry.

The baby fruits about 2 inches long are sensationally sweet when fried.

That is the way we keep this enthusiastic grower from producing more large fruit than we can use. Mind you it does get away from us at times and we have to remember to pick each day. Every so often there's a huge fruit hiding among the greenery. Often that goes into compost.

Google seems to support your interpretation of the word tendril, Elaine, and that's also how I use it.

My possums keep the vine from getting out of control. It's only those branches that are growing on wires inaccessible to possums that get long enough to produce fruit, otherwise they're tip pruned pretty quickly. I'm thinking of putting a vine inside my possum-proof enclosure and keeping it to just a metre or so high.

I'm also keen to try a bit of guerilla choko gardening, as I think once established they could be very productive, but in the right location they wouldn't be a nuisance. Also, if it all starts to get a bit Day of the Triffids, you can just cut it off at the base and you're back to square one. could grow so much  choko that there would be some leftover after the possums have eaten their fill.

I'm not sure if I have a possum problem. Fruits and veg are missing but my canine brigade and I have not seen any culprits.

My nocturnal spotlighting is not conducive of possumphobia.


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