Choko are supposed to be unfussy about soil, but I grow mine in soil rich with organic matter. The fruit are deep green and healthy looking unlike others I have seen.
The plants are come-again. I remove the old vines once the crazy fruiting period is over and let them grow again. They don't like to dry out and thrive during rainy periods.
Acquire a choko, shove it down the back of the vegie cupboard till it sprouts, then plant it in a sunny spot with the sprouting bit out of the soil. I just dig a little depression and partly cover the sprouting fruit.
Make sure there is somewhere for the vine to climb - along a fence, up a tree or along the bushes. Chokoes are best picked when they are small for best flavour. The seed is nice to eat on it's own if the fruit gets too big.
The big ones are good for making Choko Chutney (not that I have, I give them to a workmate for her Dad to do that!).
Some recipes for baby choko:
Steam or boil them for ten minutes (some people peel them but I don't - I like some fibre in my food), then dab with butter or toss in light sour cream with lots of chopped parsley or chervil.
Alternatively, sauté with garlic in olive oil; chopped red onion can also be added or a few small chips of fresh ginger.
Tiny chokoes stir fried with ginger are apparently very good.
From the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast:
Once again, the chokos kept piling up on our harvest table. A big bowl of chillies was harvested as well. What to do? ChilliChoko sauce of course…
ChilliChoko Sauce, with ingredients Choko and Chillies under the chilli bush in our garden
Starting at 8.30 in the morning, I peeled around a dozen chokos, cut the heart out and chopped them into medium size pieces and put them into a large pot. Then I cut the stems off the chillies (a salad bowl full of them), cut them in half and added them to the chokos in the pot. I added about 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs sea salt and 300 grams of rapadura sugar and added some water to ensure there was enough liquid. I put it onto the hot section of our woodstove and brought it to the boil. After boiling I let it simmer for the remainder of the day. I took it off the heat late afternoon and used a hand blender to blend the sauce with. Then I put it back on low heat.
Before we went to bed that night, we boiled a pot of water and added some glass jars (old tomato paste or jam jars are perfect). We boiled the glass jars and their lids and pulled them out of the boiling water. Then we filled the jars to the top and Tom screwed the lids on tight. We let them sit on the kitchen bench overnight, the lids get sucked in by the vacuum as they cool down and go pop. The first lids started popping before we fell asleep.
The next day we tried some on our eggs. The taste is nice and sweet with a fair bit of bite (but not too much!). The chokos have proved to be a beautiful bulking agent for our chillies!
From the same source:
What to do with an abundance of Chokos. Here is a sweet recipe.
This incredible vine has come into abundance! Beautiful, large and heavy chokos are picked off our vine which drapes over our water tank. Chokos are on Isabell Shipard's list of survival foods, they can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, pickled and fried. Whenever you need some filler, add some choko (instead of potato and other starchy vegetables). It is a low carbohydrate and reasonably low calorie vegetable and very versatile. And, once the vine is growing, it produces abundantly. But what to do with so much choko abundance? We have resorted to using choko in our breakfast. The recipe below will show how. This recipe can also be used as a pie filling.
Peel and remove the heart of 3 medium size chokos. Cut up in small cubes. Put into a saucepan.
Add 5 or 6 soft bananas and any other fruit you may want to use up. Add 2 Tbs of rapadura sugar (optional) and add water (halfway up to the top of the fruit and choko is enough).
Bring to boil and let boil until choko is soft. Take off the heat and blend with a Barmix or similar hand blender, alternatively let it cool down a little and blend in a blender. Serve while still warm in a bowl, top with yoghurt (and fresh fruit and/or shredded coconut if desired). Enjoy!
To use as a pie filling:
Prepare pie base (mix flour, little sugar, pinch of salt and olive oil or melted/softened butter), press into pie dish, prick a few times with a fork and bake at around 180C until it starts to brown. Remove from oven and let it cool down. Fill with prepared pie filling (as above) and store in the fridge for at least 4 - 6 hours. Enjoy with some whole whipped cream. The chokos make it taste like apple pie!!
Cooking and preparing food is a creative process, please do not be afraid to experiment! Add different fruits, or use chokos on their own with some sugar or Yacon sirup. Add some chopped up yacon to it or use yacon juice for sweetener. The options are limitless!!
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