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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chayote and Cherimoya

My trip to the Newhall farmers market in California last week included an introduction to two fruits I had never encountered before, chayote and cherimoya. My sister-in-law had been given a chayote by one of her ESL students, so when we spotted some for sale, we asked the vendor how to cook it. We were told it can be used in soups or stews as we would use potatoes or it can be eaten raw in salads. Apparently this white-fleshed, gourdlike fruit comes either prickly or smooth. We didn't get around to eating any while I was there, but at least I'll know what it is next time I come across one.

I did enjoy eating the cherimoya I bought. Also green-skinned with a scaly pattern, the sign said "guava, mango, papaya" on it, as if it were a cross between those three tropical fruits, though my Food Lover's Companion describes the taste as a "combination of pineapple, papaya and banana." The sweet, creamy-white flesh is studded with shiny black seeds about twice the size of watermelon seeds. The texture reminded me of very ripe honeydew melon.

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