Squash You Can't Grow Without - Alcayota, Fig Leaf Squash, Chilacayote Cucurbita Ficifolia Part II
Updated: Jun 16, 2021
Regular summer squash is very enjoyable, but be aware, once you have the taste of chilacayote and the bragging right of growing it, you will never look at zucchini or crookneck the same. Chilacayote is a prolific, PERENNIAL (you heard it right, it is perennial) with gigantic squash 10 to 15 lbs hanging from it. The Clayton Farm's chilacayote vine started from seeds last year in late spring. It did not set fruits until late fall. By winter, it produced 20+ chilacayotes for our table throughout the entire winter to spring. Now, our 1-year-old chilacayote continues to grow drastically along the fence line and now is setting fruit AGAIN!!
In Mexico, the Chilacayote is given as an offering to the Virgin Mary on Viernes de Delores or the Friday of Sorrows. This holy day is celebrated on the Friday before Palm Sunday, and the squash is traditionally cut into large pieces and candied.
Since we have so many, I thought to cut one young chilcayote open for a taste test. When the fruit is young, the skin is tender and easy to peel off. So we decided to dice it up and eat a couple of raw pieces. Even raw, it tasted delicious, like cucumber or chayote squash. Later on, my daughter made chilacayote squash soup. After cooking and simmering on the stove for some time, the soup was mouth-watering! Surprisingly enough, the texture doesn't get mushy like the regular summer squash. When cooked, it tastes mild, very neutral, and absorbs flavors of other ingredients.