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Choko variety at Botanical Gardens in New Orleans
I have been fiddling with my wonderful trellis that has micro-climated my vegetable gardening so much that I am aghast at the consequence a few poles can make.
Strung over my trellis for now is a rag tag collection of dry palm fronds. Underneath is mottled shade and some healthy photosynthesis by a mix of keenly growing vegetables.
I've been busy planting.
To avail myself of the structure I've planted a lot of climbing beans and cucumbers so that green stuff is expected to climb. I also planted a grape vine...
But on reflection, the most useful of the plants I've planted to adorn my trellis is choko. Like grape vines, it's easy to cut back and tame choko vines and they will shade the underneath.
On a site dedicated to Choko -- -- is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation and innovative uses of Louisiana heirloom mirlitons. “Mirliton” is the Louisiana name for the iconic perennial climbing squash (botanical name: Sechium edule) better known as “chayote” in the Western Hemisphere.(...and 'Choko' in Australia--DR)
there's an interesting aside about the vine's utility:
Katrina left the New Orleans area with thousands of empty lots. Growing mirlitons on overhead trellises is an excellent form of urban commercial micro-gardening and the shade canopy would inhibit weed growth—a big problem with abandoned lots. In addition, there are a myriad of uses for mirlitons that have not been explored commercially, including food preserving and the use of vines for textiles.
Of course with Chokoes you'll want to personally determine how much shade falls below but it's an easy business to do.
Anyway the site's resident Choko expert -- Dr Lance Hill -- also offers a great gallery of photographs  that showcase his Adopt-A-Mirliton, heirloom preservation and growers' network projects.
Hill also links to a cookbook dedicated to Chokoes and written by Roslyn Deakin here in Australia which offers 176 ways to prepare Chokoes.
How many do you know?
So there are indeed folk out there who respect and value the humble Choko. It's a celebration I have joined.
As I move more rigorously into Choko mode I'm embracing the vegetable with abandon. As it happens, the local  seed supplier, Green Harvest , also take up the cause of the neglected Choko. 
In their latest published notes/newsletter, GH call the Choko, "the most unappreciated vegetable in Australia"  and then go on to extol its versatility.
Start your harvest early  by steaming the tender shoots and young leaves. Then pick the small, egg sized chokos; these are simply delicious with more flavour than zuchinnis. (As for the old large ones) Mexico they simply split them open to remove the nutritious and tasty seeds and feed the rest to the cows."
So maybe by dint of habit and neglect we're missing out on a bounty?

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Comment by Dave Riley on November 11, 2011 at 7:26

I've been using palm fronds for shade over my trellis and while I waited fro the climbers to grow I had some old shade cloth and threw that over in a couple of places. While there are shade cloth grades -- I much prefer the mottled shade I get with the fronds than the half light under the cloth. It's cooler under the fronds too.I'm thinking that by mixing perennials (choko and grapes) with annuals like beans and the like I get an aerial forest I can trim to shape <i>over Summer</i> and cut back in Winter. Choko is so easy to maintain as there are no woody stems and the tendrils can easily be pulled, sipped and tucked about.Then the is the wondrous joy of watching tendril creep....with the upwards surge quickening as the weather becomes warmer. I'm now trellis delighted and suspect , at least it's my hypothesis, that Chokoes are a superb marriage to trellising over the underneath activity  -- esp of salad vegetables that are so keen to bolt over Summer. If I can get cut and come again greens to 'come again' through more of the Summer each year, then I'm in culinary heaven.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 7, 2011 at 14:14
Anything cooked in coconut milk is divine! We have it on our breakfast fruit, made from canned coconut cream - we like it better than home-made Almond milk and dairy milk.
Comment by Addy on November 7, 2011 at 13:57
We love choko, and recently discovered that the seed of an older fruit is delicious! I skinned and chopped up an old fruit including  the seed and added to a casserole - the seed had a lovely nutty taste when cooked. Elaine, the shoots can be cooked in coconut milk (like sweet potato leaves).
Comment by Elaine de Saxe on October 31, 2011 at 6:53
Without doubt Choko is a misunderstood and under-valued fruit. I've recently discovered the deliciousness of steamed Choko shoots (courtesy of a BLF-er) and if nothing else, that's a good excuse for growing a Choko vine.

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