Organic agriculture and biodiversity have in recent years brought about a rediscovery of many “forgotten” vegetables that people especially in Europe and France conscientiously tried to forget as they reminded them of the privations suffered during WWII. The same people had then to make do with untraditional vegetables because potatoes, carrots and so on were confiscated by occupying forces or their own armies.
With sustainibility and bioagriculture made more important by the deficiencies of modern mass agriculture, those “forgotten” vegetables have suddenly come to the fore for the pleasure of all, and that of course of vegetarians and vegans!
This particular series of postings will introduce these vegetables one by one. I hope they will become useful for a long time to come to all my vegan and vegetarian friends!
1) Scorsonere/Oyster Plant
10) Cerfeuil Tubereux
15) Capucine tubereuse-Maschua
16) Chataigne de Terre-Great Pignut
19) Sikkim Cucumber
20) Tree Spinach
The chayote (Sechium edule), also known as sayote, tayota, choko, chocho, chow-chow, christophene, mirliton, alligator pear, and vegetable pear, Hayatouri/はやとうり (Japanese) is an edible plant that belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
The plant has large leaves that form a canopy over the fruit. The vine is grown on the ground or more commonly on trellises.
Chayote was first domesticated in Mexico, where the fruit is used in both raw and cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, and it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, and it is often marinated with lemon or lime juice. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.
The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables. In addition, the shoots and leaves can be consumed, and they are often used in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia.
The word for chayote is Spanish, borrowed from the Nahuatl word chayotli. Chayote was one of the many foods introduced to Europe by early explorers, who brought back a wide assortment of botanical samples. The age of conquest also spread the plant south from Mexico, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many other Latin American nations.
Chayote is native to Central America where it is a very important ingredient to the diet. Other warm regions around the globe have been successful in cultivating it as well. Main growing regions are Costa Rica and Veracruz, Mexico. Costa Rican chayotes are predominantly exported to the European Union whereas Veracruz is the main exporter of chayotes to the United States.
France “imports” its chayote, also called Josephines from its islands in the Wets Indies and near Africa (Reunion), although moreand more people grow them in Europe.
THey were introduced inJapan in 1917 and have become increasingly popular as the Japanese like all kinds of gourds. The Japanese eat them pickle, in salads, cooked or in soups.
The shoots are also edible!