When you were younger, did you ever detest a particular vegetable or fruit? In my case it was this squash. I hated it but it was one vegetable that was easily available/grown so I could never totally ignore it! I only started liking it in my early twenties! When I read up on this I was surprised to know that the vegetable has several aliases. Locally, it is known as Isquaas, a corrupted version of “squash”.
The Pear Squash/Sechium edule is also known as chayote, vegetable pear, chuchu, chow-chow, christophene, mirliton, and chocho. It belongs to the same family as cucumbers and melons. A Central American native, it has been successfully cultivated in tropical regions of the world.
It has a single seed and the flesh is crisp, somewhat like a water chestnut. Although the seed is edible and has a nutty flavour, we discard it. Some things are done out of sheer habit. We usually have it cooked as a vegetable dish or added to fish or meat. The taste is bland but fresh-from-the-vine-squash tastes really good. Especially if they are tender. With the skin intact.The pear squash is said to be rich in amino acids and vitamin C. All parts are edible; the young shoots and tender leaves are particularly delicious.
The heart-shaped leaves of the pear squash vine on a bamboo trellis. It’s growing (in my mother’s backyard) in a spot where it gets full sun in the mornings and shade in the afternoons. The tiny cream-coloured bloom.The fruit on the vine.The ‘budding’ fruit. From the little protrusion, leaves will sprout. I only included this to show how it grows. The squash is then placed in a shady area on sandy soil. When a few leaves make their appearance, it can be planted. In order to plant squash, the best, mature fruit must be chosen. The specimen shown above will grow but will not produce a good crop. The vine lasts for 3-4 years.It is said that when the pear squash vine is trained to climb the jackfruit tree, the crop is bounteous. Symbolic? Maybe. One prolific bearer supports the other:) Or maybe the shade from the tree provides the required conditions for the vine to produce well.