The chayote (cha-YOH-the) is a native Mexican plant and a member of the squash family. It has the appearance of a gnarled pear with deeply ridged smooth skin that ranges from light to dark green. This starchy squash was a staple of the Aztecs and remains a very important ingredient in the Central American diet. The fruit does not need to be peeled and can be eaten raw in salads. It can also be boiled, stewed, mashed, baked, fried, or pickled. Chayotes can be substituted for summer squash in almost any recipe.