By Request: Simple step solves sappy situation
Chayote secretes a sap that can irritate skin, so if you’re processing a lot of it, you’ll probably want to wear gloves.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Learned something new the other day, something I didn’t even know I needed to know.
This lesson came via Ina van Hest, who asked for advice on peeling chayote, the fist-sized squash often used in soups, stir-fries, sometimes salads.
Van Hest, a retired Kuakini Medical Center emergency room doctor, uses chayote from her garden to make a quick bread, which requires peeling and shredding. “I never fail to hurt myself removing the skin.”
Chayote secretes a sap that can irritate skin. At the least it makes the squash awkward to handle, so if you’re processing a lot of it, you’ll probably want to wear gloves.
“It is always slippery and the sap is most difficult to remove from your hands,” van Hest said.
It turns out there’s a very easy way to eliminate the sap, which I learned through exacting research: I asked the internet, and a half-dozen versions of this hack immediately popped up. I even watched a YouTube video in Tagalog for details. (Some of these sources say you can use the sap to minimize scars, but I didn’t test that.)
All you do is cut off a piece of the chayote. It can be the tip, or you can slice the squash in half, depending on what shape you need the squash to be for your recipe.
Rub the pieces together and a foamy white sap will seep out of the cut edges.
Do this for a minute or so, then wipe the pieces off and rub some more; once the seepage stops, the squash should be safe to peel.
If you still feel a little irritation, hold the squash in a paper towel. The small amount of sap that might remain won’t be enough to stick to the paper.
I’M TRADING this not-so-hard-fought knowledge with van Hest in exchange for her recipe, which is basically a good zucchini bread recipe with one squash swapped for the other.
“I have had this recipe since the 1980s and when several times a year I have a deluge of chayote, I will make batches of chayote bread for my neighbors, work, etc.,” Van Hest said.
She doesn’t remember the source of the original recipe, and she has tinkered with it over the years. She’s tried decreasing the sugar and oil, and substituting applesauce for part of the oil. “It is very versatile.”
By Ina van Hest
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups peeled, grated chayote, drained (from 2 average-size squash, about 1-1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans
- 1 cup grated coconut
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 8-by-10-inch loaf pans.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
In separate bowl, beat eggs, then beat in oil and vanilla. Stir in sugar. Add dry ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in chayote and pineapple with juice, then nuts and coconut. Bake 1 hour. Makes 2 loaves.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Write By Request, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.