Thursday, January 14, 2010

Health Benefits of Christophene

Christophene(also spelled christophine) is in abundance now in my kitchen so I decided to research the nutrients and benefits of this God created food and share with you. Christophene is a vegetable from the squash family. It is shaped like a pear and has a seed in the middle. The skin can be green or an off white, light yellowish color. The skin also can be smooth or prickly. It is known by many names depending on the region. Among its many names are chayote, mirliton, brione, chow chow, sayote and chouchoute.


 

Nutrients and health benefits

Christophene is rich in amino acids and vitamin C. For centuries people on our island(Dominica) have used it to lower high blood pressure. The leaves and fruit have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory properties, and a tea made from the leaves has been used in the treatment of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and to dissolve kidney stones. Also found in the fruit in small amounts are calcium, sodium, thiamine, vitamin A, riboflavin and ascorbic acid.  Very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Very high in dietary fiber, vitamin K, folate, zinc, copper and manganese. High in niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. Infusions of the fruit are used to alleviate urine retention.

Culinary Uses

The taste of the christophene is mild and any seasoning of your choice can be added to it. It cooks very quickly so it's great for healthy eating in a hurry.

It can be prepared steamed or eaten raw. The raw part surprised me. In conversation with one of the ladies at church she said that she grates it and eats it just like she would do with a cucumber. I had never heard that before.  My only experience with christophene while I was growing up was using it in what we call a 'braff' (a sort of soup made with fish and or smoked meat, ground provisions(tania, dasheen, potato, green bananas). Since I've been married I've used it in various ways.  I've added it to my fish gravy, steamed it, lightly sauteed it with onions, garlic and a little sea salt.  I've used it in vegetable soups.  I've done a pumpkin and christophene medley as well.  Let's just say that I've broadened my scope from just 'braff'.  Seeing that my desire is to eat as much raw foods as possible, it was a wonderful discovery both from the sister at churh and my research to learn that it can be eaten raw.

Christophene is used in gravies as well with both fish and meat. It can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, salads. It is a very versatile vegetable. It can be stuffed, grilled, used in stir fries or roasted as well.

Storing

I’ve found that christophene lasts a very long time in the fridge. Christophene can last in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for almost a month. When left outside of the refrigerator I’ve found that it doesn’t last as long. If you peel and cut it and then refrigerate it doesn’t last long either. So the key is to keep it in its skin in a plastic bag in the fridge for it to last longer.

In researching I found out that the seed is edible. I’ve always removed it but since reading that I’m going to try using the seed as well. Definitely don’t want to miss out on a potential health benefit that may be present in the seed. Another new discovery is that the leaves and root can also be consumed. Interesting!

To read more on Christophene read Medicinal plant called sayote.

Here are some delicious christophene recipes for you to enjoy!

Christophene and Tomato Stir Fry Crustless Christophene Quiche Carrot, Pumpkin and Christophene Slaw
Christophene and Tomato Stir Fry Crustless Christophene Quiche Carrot, Pumpkin and Christophene Slaw

Here are some other Christophene recipes.



Answers.com, Wikipedia.com, blog.agriculture.ph, nature100percent.com










4 comments:

  1. I'm an African but my brother is married to a Dominican.  Through this lovely lady, I first had christophene and now that I'm turning 40, I'm looking some healthier choices.  Thanks for reminding me of my days on your island, and for sharing this information.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're very welcome. Glad I could help bring good memories back to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've never heard of Christophene before. It has some great benefits. Thanks for this information.

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