Have you ever tasted cho-cho? Perhaps you know it as “chayote.” It has lots of names in different countries. I didn’t learn about cho-cho (aka “wisquil”) and its versatility until I moved to Belize. Now, it’s a dietary staple in my home and, of course, the Mariposa Jungle Lodge kitchen.
Cho-cho is an edible plant in the gourd family and can be part of a true Belize culinary experience. Native to Central America, it is pear-shaped and carries small thorns that can be a nuisance if not handled carefully. Cho-cho boasts two unique colors and the main part used is the fruit, which is sometimes green and another time it is whitish green. I’ve read it belongs in the same family as melons and cucumbers, but that was probably written by the same character who insists a tomato is a fruit. Anyway, to me, it’s more like zucchini when it’s cooked and apples when it’s stewed.
Cho-cho is not only used as food. It is a medicinal herb used as an effective herbal remedy in dissolving kidney stones. The medicinal properties of the leaves and fruit are diuretic, cardiovascular as well as anti-inflammatory and the benefits of the tea are really derived from the leaves. Therefore, the cho-cho tea made from the leaves is very beneficial in the treatment of arteriosclerosis as well as hypertension. Another natural remedy secret, to prevent scars from appearing on the skin, just slice the raw cho-cho and rub it on wounds.
At Mariposa Jungle Lodge, we strive to offer healthy meals and introduce indigenous foods, so you can expect cho-cho in your stir-fried vegetables, salad, or dessert. You read that right, Dessert! Stewed cho-cho is a popular local dessert that takes hours to make and reminds me of baked apples in cinnamon. Our chef, Esau often prepares this dish by slicing 2 medium cho-chos and boiling them with 3 cups of brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla for 3 hours until thickened. Serve it in a bowl with ice cream, delicious.
We love the fact that cho-cho is a low-calorie storehouse of important nutrients. And, it is an excellent ingredient for serving guests with vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diets.
Chef Esau prepares culinary experiences to create memories for couples, groups and families that last a lifetime. See our Special Offers page or request a Custom Quote so we can personalize your Adventure by Day and Comfort by Night here at our Belize Jungle Lodge.