Chayote on the vineChayote

The chayote is a tropical vegetable that can be grown throughout Florida. It's also known as the vegetable pear, mirliton, and mango squash.

Native to Guatemala, chayote is related to the cucumber, and its climbing vines are often trellised. The light green, pear-shaped fruit can weigh anywhere from six ounces to three pounds, and contains a single, flat, edible seed. Sometimes the fruit is grooved and prickly, but those grown in Florida are usually smooth.

The main varieties that can be grown in Florida include 'Florida Green' and 'Monticello White'. Plant a chayote seed, or an entire fruit, in the early spring anywhere in the state or during the fall in South Florida. Fertilize your chayote just after planting, and then again periodically. Once established, it'll come back every year. Chayote can be prepared in many ways, and has a texture similar to squash.

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