Chokos are a native of Central America.
They were taken to Europe by Spanish explorers and from there were introduced to parts of Asia. A choko is also known as chayote, vegetable pear or mango squash. They grow on a climbing plant and look a bit like a pear. Some varieties have spines, while others are spineless.
Colours range from green to ivory white. Chokos have a very mild flavour, often compared to marrow, so they are usually cooked with other stronger tasting foods. Choko shoots are sometimes used in Asian cooking.
What to look for
Look for firm, even-coloured chokos which are 10-15 cm long and are not too deeply wrinkled. Sometimes smaller chokos, around 5 cm long are available. Large whiter coloured chokos indicate older fruit.
Limited availability April - June.
Refrigerate in plastic bags and they will keep for a few weeks.
How to prepare
Large chokos need to be peeled before cooking. Cut the choko in half and remove the seed. Some people eat the seeds and they have a nutty flavour. If boiling or steaming, leave the skin on to retain the flavour; cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Small chokos, under 5 cm, don’t need to be peeled and can be sliced and used in stir fries.
Ways to eat
Choko halves can be stuffed. They can be diced, cooked and served with a sauce, stir fried, and added to braises or stews. They can be used in fruit and vegetable salads, and in desserts, tarts, breads, jams or cakes. Chokos can be pickled or used as a base for relishes.
Bake, boil, braise, microwave, steam, stew, stuff.
|Serving size: ½ cup sliced - 70g|
|Fat, total (g)||0.1||0.2%||0.2|
|- saturated (g)||0.07||0.3%||0.1|
|- sugars (g)||2.5||3%||3.5|
|Dietary fibre (g)||0.8||3%||1.2|
|Vitamin C (mg)||7.7||19% RDI*||11.0||A source of vitamin C|
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014
While low in many nutrients, chokos are a source of vitamin C.
Experiment with chokos to be able to offer first hand advice on cooking and serving suggestions. Be careful when handling chokos as they bruise easily. Because of their unusual appearance, customers may not know how to use chokos, so use the QR code on labels.
Store at 7–10ºC with a relative humidity of 90-98%. Lower temperatures will damage the chokos.
Purchase chokos with the New Zealand GAP logo.
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