1. Details, Details
Mirlitons have graced backyard chain-link fences all around South Louisiana for generations. However, after way too many hurricanes from 2005 to 2009, this cherished vegetable almost disappeared from our culinary repertoire. The good news is that these days, because of a concerted effort by dedicated mirlitons enthusiasts, the yummy squash is making a resounding comeback.
2. What’s in a Name?
This plump vegetable has many monikers. Most of the United States calls it chayote. It is christophine in much of the West Indies and a vegetable pear in various other parts of the world. When the Los Isleños, came to New Orleans, these French-speaking immigrants gave it a decidedly French name — mirliton.
3. Growing Pains
They grow on a perennial vine that can reach up to 15 meters in length. For anyone looking to cut carbs, they’ll find that it works exceedingly well as a replacement to starchier vegetables.
4. Seasonal Sensation
It’s easy-growing and is best planted mid to late March. It’s ready to harvest usually between October and December.
5. Dig Deeper
For more on this versatile fruit, check out mirliton.org, an organization dedicated to the preservation of this delectable staple in our fabulous Creole cooking.