You thought you planted nice and soft chayote squash. But once the chayote are ready to harvest, you see full of spikes growing out of the tuber. Chayote is a pear-like squash that can grow silky smooth skin or skin full of prickles. If your chayote is full of pickles, it doesn’t mean that chayote is not edible. It’s the same vegetable, but the variety with prickles.
I grow my own chayote and usually come across prickled once. Peeling them can be a daunting task, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Here is how you can peel and cut prickly chayote squash in a nutshell:
- Take a thick kitchen cloth
- Place the prickly chayote in the cloth
- Use Y peeler and peel the squash
- Cut the skin that grew into the tuber
- Cut it lengthwise
- Remove the seed
- Cut it in the desired shape
Best ways to peel prickly chayote squash
If you don’t want to hurt yourself and properly peel chayote squash, this is the best way to peel it.
Use a thick kitchen dish towel
Not every towel is suitable for this job. If you want to peel prickly chayote squash safely, you would need a thick kitchen dish towel. Not every kitchen dish towel is thick enough for the job. You will feel it if the towel is too thin.
I always use thick kitchen towels in my kitchen for everything, even for draining dishes. The thickness of the kitchen towel should be something like a nice bath hand towel. The towels I use are these:
First, fold the towel. Don’t just crumple the kitchen dish towel. Instead, fold it using these three simple steps:
- Step 1: Spread your kitchen dish towel out lengthways. Turn the longer length of the towel towards you.
- Step 2: Fold the towel in half, horizontally.
- Step 3: Fold it in half from left to right. Suppose your kitchen dish towel is very large, fold again into thirds if necessary.
Once the towel is nicely folded, put it into your palm. Gently pick up the prickly chayote squash and place it on the folded towel. Pick up the peeler with the hand that you are going to peel the prickly chayote.
Hold the prickly chayote firmly in your hand and start peeling. The more you peel it, the more slippery the chayote will become. When peeling, be careful to keep your fingers away from the spikes.
During the peeling process, turn the prickly chayote inside the towel. Don’t take it off the kitchen dish towel and turn it on the kitchen counter; instead, use the hand with which you are peeling the squash and turn it on the kitchen towel.
Peeled chayote is very slippery. Using a towel will help you with chayote from slipping out of your hands.
Have the right and sharp peeler
Not every peeler is the right one for this job.
NO: You could use a swivel peeler. But if you use a swivel peeler, you will need to hold the prickly chayote also with a thumb on the hand you are peeling with. I assure you, you won’t be comfortable doing that.
NO: you could use a peeling knife. But if you use a peeling knife, the problem will be even bigger. By using a peeling knife, your thumb will have to work even harder, and I don’t think you will be comfortable with that.
YES! The best peeler you can use to peel prickly chayote squash is Y shaped peeler like this one:
I use this peeler every time I peel prickly chayote, and it does a perfect job. Be sure to choose a sharp and sturdy Y peeler with a good grip. If you get a wobbly peeler, you might break it because peeling prickly chayote squash is not like peeling potatoes. You have to apply quite some pressure to peel it thoroughly.
Be careful until the end of peeling
It is wise to peel prickly or soft chayote squash with caution until the end. When you peel it, the squash will become very slippery. It can slide out of your hand very quickly. If prickles are still attached, you could get stung very quickly.
Once the chayote is peeled, the whole surface will be slippery. Since you also need to cut out the skin that has grown into the squash, it is wise to hold it firmly with a kitchen towel until the end of peeling and cutting.
How to peel soft skin chayote squash
Peeling chayote with soft skin is much easier than peeling prickly chayote squash. You can use a variety of peelers. You can use a swivel peeler, Y peeler, a peeling knife, and my favorite, the electric peeler.
The easiest way to peel chayote squash that has soft skin is with an electric peeler. You will further have to clean the skin that has grown into the squash, but the job is done perfectly for the most part. I recommend you use an electric peeler like this one:
I tried using this with prickly chayote squash, but it just doesn’t work. The prickles are too strong, and the peeler just doesn’t do anything.
How to deseed prickly chayote squash the right way
Each chayote squash, even prickly one, has a thin oval-shaped seed in the middle. Before you cut the squash into desired shapes and sizes, be sure to remove the seed.
The best way to remove the seed is to cut the squash lengthwise. Be sure to cut it in half from the bottom where the squash is the widest.
If you cut it on the bottom on the shorter ends, you won’t be able to cut the seed out completely.
To remove the seed, take a sharp peeling knife or a teaspoon and decore it. It is very similar to taking the seed out of a pear.
What are the best ways to cut prickly chayote squash
These are the best ways to cut prickly or soft chayote squash:
The best way to cut prickly chayote squash or chayote squash with smooth skin is to slice it.
You can also cut it into cubes if you use the squash in a vegetable soup.
This squash is also perfect for stir-fries. Firm consistency is ideal for a quick stir fry process, assuring you crunchy texture in your dish. The best way to cut it for a stir fry is to make julienne.
If you grate it on a box grater, you can use it in patties.
Chayote squash is also great for vegetarians or vegans. If you use a spiralizer like this one, you can make firm veggie squash noodles.
How to pick, peel, deseed and cut chayote squash video
5 quick recipes to use prickly chayote squash
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