What is choko (aka chayote) and how is it used?
The choko is the fruit of the choko or chayote vine. It can be smooth or spiny (I much prefer the smooth varieties!), and the large fruits have a seed inside them which is also edible - adds a slightly nutty flavour - or can be removed. The fruits are peeled and then sliced, and can be added to a huge variety of dishes, from stir fries to soups and stews, cakes and other baking, fruit crumbles etc. Chokos are very mild in flavour - picking up the flavours of other foods they are cooked with. I love them sliced and cooked with garlic and oyster sauce. Last night I cut on into chunks and baked it in the oven with the chicken thighs and kumara I was cooking, turning it a couple of times in the juices from the chicken - yum! Others like to fry it with bacon and onions, and I've head of plenty of people who bottle them with apples or use in apple crumbles or pies to make the fruit go further. It's very versatile!
How to get and grow a plant
In previous (good) years, I've gotten a basket or two of fruits from the vine.
So what was different this year?
Another variable I should perhaps mention is that the garden bed in front of the fence where I placed it had been very overgrown with bindweed and couch, so I had weedeatered the lot, covered in cardboard then weedmat then bark, just as a means of killing off all the weeds for the season. There is an apple and a lemon tree in that garden; usually I grow some herbs or flowers under them in summer, but needed to get it under control. I also, before putting down the weedmat, added compost judiously, including under where I planned on putting the choko pot. When it came time to place it, I cut away the weedmat from directly under it, so the pot sat snuggled down a little in the compost. All of this would have provided a nourishing, cool, damp potential root run for the vine.
For next season....
And, of course, post the good recipes on this site. :-)