What!!!! Melons in New Year?
Updated: Jan 2
The first time I saw the fruit, I thought it was a watermelon. After asking around my Hispanic friends; may I introduce Chilacayote, cheel-a-ka-YO-teh.
Chilacayote is a prolific squash plant that produces huge squash 10 to 15 lbs hanging from it. You can eat the fruit small, around 4 inches in diameter, like a summer squash. Or cut bigger fruit into strips, simmer them with cinnamon sticks and a syrup of piloncillo,and spices like canela, anise and cloves. Or make it into a sweet beverage! The flowers, prolific and fast growing leaves and tender shoots are used in Mexico and other countries as greens.
When the fruit is young, it makes a wonderful base for a winter or early spring smoothie. The flesh is like a firm melon. Scoop out of the rind and remove the seeds. Mix the Chilacayote flesh with ice, sugar to taste and the juice of whatever citrus you prefer. Pineapple is also delicious. Put the raw ingredients in a blender and enjoy!
The dark flat seeds inside the flesh are rich in healthy oils. These seeds can be dry roasted and eaten plain. Toss the seeds in some olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven at 300F. Or make into palanquetas: just pour caramelized sugar over the seeds and let cool into a brittle candy!
It is a late producer, it did not do anything until now. I counted today, there are 23 chilacayote squash on the vine, and it is still setting flowers. What an amazing squash. Oh, did I say it is a perennial squash too?