As I've mentioned on a few of my recent blog posts, I've been making a few little goodies to give as Christmas gifts this year, because let's face it, nothing ever beats a gift you've made yourself! Earlier this week I was given a HUGE bag of home-grown Chokos, which was a complete score considering how broke I am right now. So I decided to make some choko pickles with my totally FREE haul of vegetables and add them in to my Christmas hampers -winning!
If you're wondering what a choko is, they are also known as a Chayote, and are a member of the Gourd family. Chokos originate from Mexico and are sometimes also referred to as a pear squash, vegetable pear, cho-cho, and christophine, depending on which country you're in! The Choko has a flavour that is similar to a cross between an apple and a cucumber. It is fairly mild in flavour and robust in texture, which makes it a great vegetable to use in curries, stews, casseroles, fruit pies and stir fries.
Choko has a tough skin that should be peeled off prior to cooking. Under the skin is a sticky sap which can irritate some skin types, so I recommend peeling the vegetable under a constant stream of water. You could also wear gloves, but where would the fun be in that?
Watch my video with instructions on how to peel a choko:
These Pickles cost me about $10 including the purchase of some jars from a local thrift store. I added in a bag of green beans that I got on special for $1.20 because I didn't quite have enough choko. I made a double batch, which yielded about 20 jars of pickles (of different sizes). If you make a single batch you'll probably get about 8 - 10 small jars and it should cost about $5-7 to make, depending on where you shop.
You can make this recipe using choko, and if you don't have enough choko you can also use other vegetables to make up the 1.3kg, such as cauliflower, tomatoes or green beans. This is really a base recipe for any kind of veggie pickle. If you can't get your hands on choko, again just use other vegetables. A friend of my family makes pickles every week using whatever vegetables are left in her fridge on a Sunday!
1.3kg choko (or tomatoes or cauliflower)
1.3kg brown onions
1 litre vinegar
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons seeded mustard
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup table salt
1. Peel choko under running water and remove seeds. Dice roughly.
2. Place choko in large pot, cover with boiling water and add salt. Boil until tender, strain and then mash.
3. Return the pot to the low heat and add onions, spices, sugar, and vinegar.
4. Combine flour and water (ensure no lumps) and then add to pot. Stir well.
5. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.
6. While it is still hot, pour pickle into sterilised jars. Allow to cool in jar for 30 minutes then place lid on and seal well. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Refrigerate once opened.