Friday, June 18, 2010

Twirl the Baton, Mirliton.

What the heck is it?  Is it edible?  More importantly do we have to eat it? :(   Surprisingly this is edible and it belongs to the gourd family that includes melons, cucumbers and squash.  It can be eaten both raw and cooked. When cooked it resembles summer squash.When raw it is added to salads and salsas and often lime or lemon juice is added as a marinade.  Chayote, or Mirliton is native to Central America, but are successfully grown in the warmer regions around the globe.  The most common variety that you would see in the supermarket are pear-shaped and have a thin light green skin.  When cut in half there is a large flat pit, the flesh tastes fairly bland and is said to be somewhere in between a cucumber and potato.  
Believe it or not this strange looking fruit has a few rumors associated with it.  In Australia, where it is called choko, there are people that insist that McDonald's apple pies are made out of the chayotes.  This rumor might have surfaced around World War II because people were trying to stretch their budget and canned apples at that time were a luxury, and the obvious fact that apples were not indigenous to Australia, a predominantly tropical country.    If that rumor did not grab you enough the next one will, it is said that due to the chayote's cell-regenerative properties legend has it that this fruit caused the mummification of the townsfolk of San Bernardo in Colombia due to the extensive consumption of chayote.  The mummies can still be seen today with their skin still well-preserved.  The chayote fruit and leaves have been used in the treatment of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and to dissolve kidney stones, it also has diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is rich in Vitamin C and amino acids.
You see it is always the food that looks strange and tastes strange that we should be eating. Chances are if it looks like a cheeseburger and smells like a cheeseburger, you might need more chayotes in your diet to reverse the damage it causes to our bodies.  If I only knew then what I know now? 

I am trying to eat better. And, I do feel wise after drinking tea. After eating vegetables, I just feel hungry.~Carrie Latet

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