One of the most polarising Vegetables (Fruits) we grow is the Choko. So many people have a story about their childhood experience with how their parents or grandparents made the most amazing or perhaps horrid meal using Chokos.  My Mum used the pressure cooker (there is a memory) or steamed them savagely, making them very soft and not the most appealing.

Often judged as a common vegetable without much taste, the Choko has an unfair reputation. The lasting reputation of the humble but nutritious Choko occurred during the Great Depression. It became the staple diet of many families and was eaten in every possible way. This made many older Australians resistant to this very versatile plant.  I regularly spot them now at our local Supermarkets selling for $10 to $12 kg.

Chokos do not require a lot of attention once established and will produce for around 5 years. When planting them, you lay them on their side as the roots, stem and leaves come from the same spot. In South East Queensland you could probably plant out most of the year but perhaps best to avoid deep winter. Because they are a climber, it is best to grow on a trellis, fence or over something you won’t miss.  Being a perennial they may die back a bit in winter.

Fruit can be harvested at any time during the growth cycle and mature fruits will store for several months. We generally harvest ours at a size when the skin is still quite soft. That way there is no need to peel the Choko before preparing them as part of a meal.

We have several vines here and when we have an excess over the requirements of our regular customers and ourselves, we will freeze the surplus. When freezing fruit and vegetables it is always best to cut and store in the size that they will be used. For us the Choko is either diced or cut to small cubes for use in soups, casseroles or stir fries and some are cut in long strips for baking.

Are they a Fruit or a Vegetable?

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