Peeling the Spiny Chayote Squash


Chayote squash provides a mildly sweet alternative to the more common summer squashes. The young, green squashes have only a few hair-like spines that wash off with mild rubbing, so you can eat the tender flesh raw or cooked with the peel on or off. At maturity, chayote becomes brown and develops a hard spiny exterior that makes it difficult to peel. You can peel green chayotes before or after cooking, but mature, spiny squashes are easiest to peel if you cook them first so the spines lose their prick.

Things You'll Need

  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Vegetable peeler or paring knife
  • Knife
  • Spoon

Keep It Green

  • Put on a pair thin latex or rubber gloves before cutting into the chayote skin. Chayotes produce a sticky sap before they are cooked that causes skin irritation and peeling.

  • Cradle the chayote in your nondominant hand. Peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler, pulling the peeler away from your body. Alternatively, use a paring knife.

  • Lay the chayote on a cutting board and remove any remaining peel from the stem and blossom ends of the squash. Dispose of the peel and rinse the squash in cool water to remove any remaining sap.

  • Slice the chayote into cubes or strips, as desired. Dispose of the single large seed or cook it with the flesh. Cooked chayote seeds have a nutty flavor.

A Prickly Situation

  • Slice the chayote in half lengthwise, while wearing gloves. Boil or steam the chayote halves for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively, bake the halves for 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Allow the halves to cool until you can comfortably handle them. Remove the seed from the one half and set it aside.

  • Scoop the flesh out of the peel with a large spoon. Slice the scooped out half into the desired size pieces. You do not need gloves to handle a chayote peel after cooking.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add raw young chayote slices to salads or vegetable trays. Cooked chayote works well in soups, vegetable dishes, stir-fries and casseroles.

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