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The chayote is a part of the gourd family, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

Known for its pear-like shape and its fruity, fresh flavor, it is an essential ingredient to any imitator of Cajun or Creole cuisine.

Though the chayote originated from Mexico, the word itself deriving from ancient Aztec, it spread quickly across the Caribbean Ocean, then over to Louisiana.

Due to its toughness when eaten raw, the squash is hardly ever used uncooked in a dish, save for in salads or salsas.

When lightly cooked, it takes on a crispy quality, which is particularly accentuated in spicy dishes.

In any case, the chayote is always a healthy means to get your daily intake of amino acids and vitamin C.

The fruit is not the only edible part of the chayote though; the roots, stems, seeds and leaves go well in a stir fry, for example.

When grown in a garden, the chayote needs space to spread out, so it wouldn’t thrive in an average-sized plot.

Though a bit prickly both in texture and in nature, the chayote is an eminently versatile base ingredient for any spice fiend.

Click on the link for a killer recipe from the Food Network:

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