There is no sitting on the fence when it comes to chokos in Australia, you either love them or hate them. I love them, but not to eat; we use choko vines for the shade they provide the chook house over summer. For those of you in other countries, chokos are chayote, christophine or vegetable pear. I think they're native to Mexico. They grow on a vine and put out thick lush growth, idea for shading a corrugated iron shed in the heat of summer. Of course they are grown for their fruit as well although they do have a reputation here as being bland and dull. It's like any squash I suppose, it depends on how you cook it and what you cook it with - it carries the flavours of other sweet or savoury foods very well.
About a month ago, I bought two healthy looking chokos at the market in the hope they would sprout. Sure enough, they have, and soon they'll be planted out in the vegetable garden at the base of the fence near the chook shed. Slowly buy surely, they'll creep up the fence, up the side of the shed and cover it by January. In Australia, chook sheds and choko vines go hand in hand. It's a good cheap way to provide shade in summer, you pull it out in winter and let the sun hit the shed, then replant again in spring.
I put both chokos in my fruit basket and let them sit on the bench to sprout at room temperature in their own time. You can see them above almost covered by tomatoes.
Here is an old Australian recipe for choko pie. This recipe was hand written and given to me by Curly - my daughter-in-law Cathy's father. Curly's a real bushy, as * fair dinkum as they come, so although I haven't made this pie myself, I have no doubt it's a winner.
*Fair dinkum - genuine
(written in the pre-metric days)
Boil one large choko with no salt (till tender). Drain and mash.
Add ½ cup sugar, juice of one lemon and two tablespoons of custard powder.
Put into a cooked pastry case.
Mix 2oz (60 grams) melted butter together with 2 oz sugar, 4oz (115 grams) coconut. Sprinkle over choko mixture and bake in a moderate oven till cooked and brown - about 30 - 45 minutes.
I guess it would have been served in the old days with cream or ice cream.
Chokos sprout from the top of the vegetable and when you see the vine grow about 6 inches, it's ready to plant. Like any squash, it likes a rich well drained soil and plenty of organic fertiliser.
Do you eat chokos or do you use the vine like we do? I wonder how people in other countries use this vegetable and if it's commonly grown. If you live outside Australia, I'd love to know how you use this vegetable.