Have you ever heard of sechio ? It is a vegetable (actually a fruit) that resembles a thorny pumpkin and of which there are several varieties. Let’s find out the properties of this exotic food, its nutritional values and how to use it in the kitchen.
Many popular names of the sechio ( Sechium edule ): centenary pumpkin, aubergine, courgette or spiny potato and even wolf tongue. It actually refers to a single plant that belongs to the cucurbitaceae family and is native to Central America where this very popular food is known as chayote .
It is commonly used as a vegetable, but, like courgette, it is the fruit of a vegetable with a characteristic ovoid shape and which can reach 15 cm in length. The color of the peel is variable, from dark green to yellow.
- Sechio property
- Sechio, nutritional values
- Sechio, uses and how to eat it
- How to choose Sechio and where to find it
The sechio offers interesting properties to those who consume it more or less regularly. In Central American folk medicine it was used in particular for its diuretic, anti-inflammatory effects and for regulating blood pressure.
We can thus summarize the main benefits of chayote:
- Rich in vitamins and minerals:this vegetable is particularly rich in vitamin C but also contains other substances useful to our body including several amino acids.
- Diuretic:as it is very rich in water, the sechio has a good diuretic effect on our body
- Beneficial for the kidneys:consuming sechio can help us keep the kidneys healthy, preventing stones but also promoting the dissolution of some already existing.
- It prevents hypertension: this vegetable, thanks to the presence of some minerals and antioxidants, would seem to be able to help keep pressure at bay.
- Keeps cholesterol at bay: lowin fat and rich in substances beneficial for the circulatory system, the sechio is useful to avoid the accumulation of bad cholesterol and to prevent arteriosclerosis.
- Excellent in pregnancy:it is a natural product very rich in folic acid , its consumption is therefore also recommended in pregnancy.
Sechio, nutritional values
100 grams of sechio bring about 19 calories to our body while for the content of fats, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals and vitamins refer to the following table:
- Fat 0.1 g
- Saturated fatty acids 0 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids 0.1 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids 0 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 2 mg
- Potassium 125 mg
- Carbohydrates 4,5 g
- Dietary fiber 1.7 g
- Sugar 1.7 g
- Protein 0.8 g
- Vitamin A 0 IU
- Vitamin C 7.7 mg
- Calcium 17 mg
- Iron 0.3 mg
- Vitamin D 0 IU
- Vitamin B6 0.1 mg
- Cobalamine 0 µg
- Magnesium 12 mg
Sechio, uses and how to eat it
Sechio can be eaten raw or cooked . First of all, it should be washed and then stripped with gloves on (given the presence of thorns), especially if it is a bucket larger than 6 centimeters. Then the seeds must be removed (there are also those who eat them since they are edible but have a somewhat particular flavor that resembles hazelnuts and are not suitable for all recipes) and cut according to the preparation in which you intend to use it.
Small, more delicate and tasty ones can also be eaten raw, for example in salads. In general, however, this food is well suited for:
- sweet and savory pies
In all cases in which the sechio is used cooked, it must be cut into small pieces and put together with the other ingredients only at the end of cooking so that it does not lose its consistency and that the flavor is not mixed too much with that of the other foods.
Both raw and steamed, it can then be simply enjoyed as it is, with a dressing based on extra virgin olive oil and lemon. Other options are to eat it fried in batter , stir- fried or accompanied by butter, cheese, aromatic herbs or sauces. Remember that its flavor is a mix between that of zucchini and yellow pumpkin (but less sweet).
Bear in mind also that the buds and leaves of this fruit are edible and can be added to salads, for example.
Finally, remember that the part of the sechio that you do not consume immediately, should be kept in the fridge, preferably in a container. This will last several days.
How to choose Sechio and where to find it
There are several varieties of Sechio that stand out for their color and flavor. To choose it at best, we must make sure that it has the following characteristics:
- firm consistency(must not be soft or dented)
- uniform color preferably light green(when the colors in the same vegetable vary it is probably too mature)
- small(better a small sechio that is tastier)
Difficult to find Sechio in traditional supermarkets or at the market. It is better then to go directly to groceries that trade exotic food, in multi-ethnic counters or finally online. Otherwise you can think of growing it in the vegetable garden or on the balcony being a plant that is well suited to our climates.