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So the english term is vegetable pear, mirliton or pear squash. I’ve been eating this vegetable since a year or two after birth (I think), I just found out now how it’s called in english.(thanks google)
Chayote or commonly known as sayote is an all-around vegetable here in the Philippines, most specially in the Cordillera region. It is a vegetable that you can eat almost all of its parts. From its fruits, stems, shoots and leaves. It is packed with vitamin C and Amino Acids.
There’s a lot of recipes you can do with sayote but I like it best when added to Chiken Tinola, or “pinikpikan”.
One morning as I was hanging my clothes to dry on the porch, I saw a vine creeping on the fence. My mom said “Look at my sayote, aren’t they pretty? Leave them be, just let them grow so we wont need to buy in the market.” Now a days sayote became a bit pricey. A kilo of it is ranging from ten to twenty pesos, but now it's thirty to forty pesos and can even reach up to 60 pesos.
Remembering my childhood days, sayote was free. Almost every house has a sayote plant as it is not that hard to grow them. Just throw them out on the ground and it will grow by itself specially on rainy days.
There’s always sayote on our everyday meal. Be it breafast- sayote with egg, lunch- sayote with sardines and dinner- sayote with noodles. There was a joke about sayote as “mangi pa highblood”(it makes the blood pressure up). When I first heard it I wondered how can it make the blood pressure high when it is a vegetable that’s suppose to keep us healthy. Then my uncle explained that it is not the sayote but eating it everyday will cause the blood pressure to rise. Isn’t there any other food aside from sayote?🙃 When I go to my cousin’s house, their food is also a recipe of sayote.😉 Even my husband doesn’t like sayote anymore. He jokes on being allergic to it as he has been eating it since childhood too.
When relatives from the lowlands come to visit, they bring their home-grown fruits and vegetables as “pasalubong” and in exchange we give them a sack of sayote fruit and sayote tops to bring back to their homes.
There was a time after a strong rain, some of its fruits fell to the ground. Passing by it, we played kick ball with it, used it as dodge balls then smashed it on the wall. We were just kids then and didn’t know how valuable it is to some people have less food to eat.
There was one summer, we were playing under the sayote vines. Out of curiousity, we took some of its dried leaves and rolled it on a news paper about six inches long. We tried to smoke on it and oh my lungs hurt! It made me cough so hard. Lesson learned: that’s not what they use to make cigarettes.😁
If we need money to buy candies, we’ll just gather some of its fruits and sell it to our neighbors who does not have sayote plants. Though they can ask it for free from our parents, they are still happy to spare us some coins for it.
Sayote was and is our survival food and I’m thankful for these sayotes that just grow on our yard even without proper care and yet provides for us abundantly.