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So many Chokos - So few ideas!? What can I do with all my chokos?

I got given a couple of chokos that were sprouting by a friend and so having a garden that grows things these days, I planted it. Its been a while since I had a choko vine... I'm thinking upwards of 15 years or so and I had completely forgotten how many chokos a single vine can produce in so few weeks! And I may have planted more than one!


When the first few chokos appeared, I waiting impatiently for them to get big enough to pick. We ate them steamed with butter - de-lish-ious!

I got a bit more adventurous with the next handful and had them stuffed (good fun) and make fritters with them (bit boring - needs a good sauce) and then I plumb ran out of ideas.

The chokos however, continued to multiply and hung green and accusingly, growing plumper each day. I grated them into nachos, I chopped them into strews and I baked them with the weekly roast but still they grew! I got desperate to do something with my most successful garden crop and after a quick search on the net - a new realm of choko uses was opened to me.



Here's what I did...

Preserves!

It turns out you can put chokos in relishes, pickle, jams and practically anything you can pickle, preserve, can, bottle or put in a jar!

So if your neighbours are "never home" when you and your wheel barrow of chokos turn up, here's some great ideas on how to cook, preserve and generally use up all those chokos!

In a meal: Young chokos are best for this.
Strips in a stir fry.
Baked in a roast meal with potatoes etc.
Grated into pasta dished, nachos and other meals that you normally "hide" veges from your kids.
Grated into fritters  - but mix it with tastier veges, they are a bit bland on their own.
Grated into sausage rolls
Baked and Stuffed - like you would do a stuffed marrow or potato. Big old ones are good for this but the skin is too tough to eat.
Roasted chunks in a salad or pasta.
Young ones boiled and served with butter really are very nice.
Really young ones can be diced an put in a salad raw.
As a mash but you'll need to squeeze out the liquid first or you'll make choko soup. (Like I did)
Soup - on its own (boil and blend, add milk/cream/coconut water, salt/pepper) or as part of a normal vege soup, minestrone or really anything that needs bulking up - you probably wont be able to taste the choko anyway!
Mashed baby food.
In a zucchini slice ( squeeze the juice out first though)
In a curry or stew

Relish or Chutney:
You can add chokos instead (or along with) apples in a lot of recipes. I think they have a lot more moisture than an apple to you might have to adjust your liquid levels or cook it for a little longer.
I've made choko chutney but really it tastes like a normal chutney as the vinegar, sugar and spices overwhelm any choko taste their might be. Now I just add it as a bulking ingredient and make things like peach and choko chutney and leave the choko part off the label!

Old English Choko Chutney recipe



Desserts:
Peeled and boiled in a sugar syrup and bottled for dessert recipes. It seems choko was used in desserts like apple or pear pies to bulk out the expensive or out of season fruit in days gone by and is a great way to add some extra fibre and nutrients to a dessert!

Cakes:
Grated into a carrot cake or other "vege based" cakes and loaves where zucchini, carrot and beetroot are regularly used - again, watch the moisture content. I grated the choko and then hand squeeze the juice out to reduce this issue.

Jams!
Chokos are great in jams or marmalades! I have made a really nice pineapple and choko jam with a 1/2 pineapple leftover from a party and 2 giant chokos. There are lots of great old fashioned jam recipes out there that use chokos I was surprised to find.

Lime, ginger and choko curd:
Yup, you read that right - and as a bonus, its dairy and egg free! Pretty easy and quite tasty this one.
Peel and core two to three chokos, dice and put into a blender. Add two to three roughly diced limes and wizz into a blended mash. Measure the resulting puree and place into a pot and add the equal amount of sugar. Boil until the sugar melts and it reaches setting point. Bottle into hot jars and seal. Smooth tangy lime with no dairy or eggs! Yum!

Pet Food.
If you make your own pet food, you can add chokos to the meat in chunks or grated to bulk out the vege part and add a few nutrients at the same time. I pop in grated choko or choko chunks when I boil up the dog food in the slow cooker and she seems to munch it up regardless. (Must be a bit of Labrador in that kelpie!) The cat wont have a bar of anything that isn't heavily biased towards fish or indeed is a fish but the chickens think cooked choko is a treat and gobble it up. For them I dice up left over chokos and pop them in the slow cooker and let them cook for the day. Then I mix the choko with their grain or just mash it and leave them to it. I don't give them this mixture too often as I prefer an ever changing variety of veges/plants for the girls rather than the same thing day in day out.

Do you have any idea for excess chokos? Id love to add to this list for next years crop - some one gave me a white choko and its sprouting in the fruit bowl as we speak, so I'm going to need more ideas in coming months I suspect! If you have any ideas, pop them in the comments below!
 

Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for completing the food cycle on your property!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for finding so many ways to use a free vegetable!
Time cost: Normal amount of time to cook dinner.
Skill level: Easy to grow, easy to cook, easy to get sick of, Often hard to get rid of!
Fun-ness: Great fun to find another way to hide a choko in the families dinner!

Comments

Janet Camilleri said…
I love choko but I'm the only one in my household that does. I really must plant a choko vine here - hopefully it's more productive than the last one (also the first one!) I had which produced ONE lousy choko before curling up and dying!
Peter Barrie said…
You forgot to add "Taste" to your scorecard - 0/5 - Chokos begin with a "C" and so fall into the Carrots, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Celery, Corriander etc category and so come under my internal "Caustic" foods to be avoided.
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