My baby’s favorite puree is made from chayote.
Do you have visions of the Road Runner and Wiley E. Coyote and wonder how I got to the coyote meat? Let me tell you, no, I didn’t misspell “coyote”!
Chayote is a green vegetable that looks a bit like a pear. The background reminds me of the way a toothless mouth puckers up. I have only seen chayote in the supermarket and I imagined that it grows on trees. I even caught myself humming “…and a partridge and a pear tree…” as I made my selection in the produce aisle.
I was completely wrong about the tree. Chayote is part of the gourd family, like squash, zucchini, and squash… which brings up visions of Charlie Brown calling the Gran Chayote. Except that chayote is much smaller than a pumpkin and wouldn’t do for Halloween carving.
It can be eaten raw, but I have always boiled it. The root, stem, seed, and leaves are edible. I have eaten the soft, flat, cooked seed, which tastes quite good. An important tip to maximize your enjoyment of chayote is to cut off the wrinkled part at the bottom, because it has a stringy, stringy quality that extends inside the vegetable. I think this is where the seed is preparing to sprout.
To prepare as a baby puree, boil the chayote. After boiling, peel off the skin. Then run your knife along the wrinkled bottom and cut all the way to the top. You will pass right through the soft seed. Cut the fibrous part. Cut it into large pieces. Mix. Delicious!
The puree has a consistency similar to applesauce, but perhaps more watery. You can also add a smaller amount of green zucchini, carrots, squash, etc. Try different ratios to see what your baby likes.
Are you wondering how I came up with the idea to feed my baby chayote? Well, it wasn’t my idea. It was from my husband. He is from Mexico and this is one of the first foods given to babies there.
Chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C, as well as niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin K, zinc, copper, and manganese.
After 7 months of breastfeeding, I started following the doctor’s instructions. I gave the baby rice cereal as his first solid food, three times a day. The result was that he became constipated. After four days without a poopy diaper (unheard of for him), we ditched the rice cereal and went for the chayote. Once his poop diapers came back, we gave him cereal again, but switched it to oatmeal instead of rice.
The baby is now 10 months old and is eating a wider variety of solid foods, while continuing to breastfeed. Anytime she shows signs of having trouble straining to poop, or when her stools look hard and her red bottom is sore, I go back to chayote puree again. Baby still eats it with gusto and it works every time.