Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I am beginning to get obsessed with chokoes as they are so easy to grow and have many edible attributes -- leaves, fruit and roots. Cooking them is one issue. Growing another. 

Then there is the unrespected art of using choko vines for shading and  design. 

What outback dunny is complete without choko decoration?

Such a versatile vegetable.

From  New Orleans Lance Hill writes  that he is seeking choko stock from local hierlooms that are naturally resistant to anthracnose . (Is that an issue here?) He goes on, "Here we only eat the fruit—no one ever thought to eat the leaves or shoots. The second phase of my project is to create an international on-line recipe site to increase the uses of mirlitons, but food habits are deeply entrenched. The Cajuns of Southwest Louisiana do eat them raw like celery sticks. They pickle them as well.Truly it is a remarkable and thoroughly disrespected vegetable....Anyway, keep me posted on Chokos. I am interested in all lore, growing methods, plant pests and diseases, and recipes and textile uses."

I'm harvesting fruits at egg size and have planted 8 vines to keep me supplied. At that size you can indeed eat them like celery sticks or radishes.

Are the white fruits tasty (or tastier) and worth growing?

 

 

 

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Hi Dave. My chocko vine (singular) provides so many fruit I have heaps for myself and sharing. Definately best eaten small. I often nibble on the vine tips but others use them more in cooking.

The vine is suffering quite badly with the heat but I expect it to make a comeback once the rain comes. I have no issues with disease with the vine at all and this is the second time it has grown after being cut back - definately a survivor.

I do have the pearly white one growing, but it too is suffering with the dry. Hopefully it will survive and provide some interesting fruit. Not sure if the flavour is different from the green ones.

The flavour of the white over green is different if the one taste of a tiny one I had is anything to go by. Just a tad sweeter is my impression.

 

Just about a bullet-proof vine without diseases or pests that I'm aware of except a bit of powdery mildew if it's not growing in full sun.

 

The American guy and his 8 vines - good grief, is he supplying the entire town?

No. I'm the person with got 8 vines growing. Lance Hill  is a choko/mirliton specialist who is trying to preserve local Lousiana hierloom stock and promote cultivation.

Has anyone tried picking them when they are only the size of an almond in the shell? If not, try this....Wash the chokos allowing about 3 to 6 person, do not cut or split them, (the seed is very soft, tender and almost non-existant at this size), steam them until just tender, drain and add 1 tablespoon butter and a shake of salt and pepper. Serve as a dleicious vegetable green. OR, peel and shred full sized but not tough and prickly chokos, (yes they will get prickly little points with old age) remove the seed and shred into cabbage along with onion and steam until just cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Delicious hot. I also make them into a choko pickle which is lovely with cold meats. Also julienne them into home-made coleslaw. And finally, slice like apples and add to apples for stewed apples or apple pie. They really are a versatile vegetable and blend with so many other fruits and vegetables. Cheers.

Good suggestions Elaine, thank you.

I'm learning to appreciate this veg/fruit. As a kid all I was offered was the big ones boiled to billy-o and it was really off putting.

Hi again Lissa, I also disliked them enormously when I was little, (a long time ago) because Mum just boiled them to billy-oh too! I have just experimented with them over the years and have come up with the above. No one has ever complained (but rather complimented) so I just keep preparing them in the various ways. I just don't like seeing good home-grown food go to waste. Another way is to prepare them in the shape of pear halves, add them to pears while you are cooking or preserving them and they actually take on the flavour of the pear fruit. Lovely with fresh home-made custard.

Many years ago I sliced them like bamboo shoot and added them to a stirfry. My kids were enjoying it and would haven't thought twice, but one of them is a little sharper and touchier about her food than the others and she twigged lol. I have been in trouble ever since. Along with the famous dish of Pink Chicken...

Pink Chicken? Well before pink slime so something intriguing!

I give in.....and I'll be the dill (lol), but what is Pink Chicken?

Pink Chicken was one of my experiments with cooking and unfortunately (?) I can't remember how I achieved it but it was universally hated by the kids lol.

Beetroot maybe...can't remember, but the story won't go away even though my kids are now in their 30's.

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