Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

20160521_100028Chokos – a prolific, fence-covering vine, masses of fruit – what DO we do with them?!

From tiny ones, new-formed to great big ones, larger than my hand – here’s our take on making best use of this resource. Now that zucchinis are ending their season growing in the open garden, small chokos make a great replacement.

The small ones are delicious and sweet – just thumb-sized. Steam a few minutes.

Large chokos develop a tough skin and are flavorless compared with the tiny ones. We spice large ones to make them worth eating. Big ones are kept in a cold place until we have no more small ones on the plant. Then we use the large ones [unless we’ve given them away].

Large chokos are usually the ones available in shops. If you see small ones, choose them for flavor.

The choko seed will sprout from the large end of a choko which is as big as your hand and grow into a whole new plant. It first grows a new shoot and begins to grow small rootlets.

20160522_171032It can be now planted into a garden bed in a frost-free zone, or into a pot, large end down, of good potting mix [or at least the growing rootlets covered with soil for protection]. Plant out into garden on a trellis or other support after all frosts and freezing weather has passed in spring.20160522_171117

Chokos grow on a rampant vine. Our’s covers the back fence and a tree. It will die back as cold winter weather and frosts arrive.

The roots remain in the ground to re-sprout next spring. Covering the roots with mulch for protection in winter helps this short-lived perennial plant last longer.

We replant a new one each year or so.

Here’s a post about the wonderfulness of chokos I wrote some time ago – it seems a good time to re-visit it now we have heaps of chokos available! Enjoy now as the season is quite short – a few months at most. Find the info here.

 

Recipes for delightful chokos: see post here

There are so many ways chokos can be used! Some of our favorite recipes for delightful chokos are found here

Wonderful additions to stews, casseroles, curries, soups, pickles.

Or just enjoy the tiny new ones steamed – sweet – a real treat in such a short season, and unavailable in most shops so grow your own treats.

Enjoy!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

20160521_100028The small ones are the ones we eat [like those lower left in the photo].

Steam a few minutes for the tiny ones whole or sliced medium-sized ones. Sweet and delicious.
Large chokos develop a tough skin and are flavorless compared with the tiny ones. We spice large ones to make them worth eating. They are kept in a cold place until we have no more small ones on the plant. Then we use the large ones [unless we’ve given them away].

Large chokos are usually the ochoko vine over cherry guava treenes available in shops. If you see small ones, choose them for flavor.
Chokos grow on a rampant vine. Our’s covers the back fence and a tree. It will die back as cold winter weather and frosts arrive.

The roots remain in the ground to re-sprout next spring. Covering the roots with mulch for protection in winter helps this short-lived perennial plant last longer. Continue reading “Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!”

Winter frost in our ‘sub-tropical’ climate!

Winter frost in our ‘sub-tropical’ climate!

Frost in Auckland – July 2015 – when the water pipes freeze, thermometer shows less than 0oC;  leaves are  decorated with ice crystals – beauty is there even in weather we are not used to!The 'bright lights' silverbeet, leaves are etched in frosting.The ‘bright lights’ silverbeet, leaves are etched in frosting

The lettuce leaves are etched in frosting.
The lettuce, parsley and rocket leaves are etched in frosting.
The letterbox is decorated with ice crystals - beauty is there even in the weather we are not used to!
The letterbox is decorated with ice crystals
The yacons shriveled and wait until next season to grow again - the tubers are really sweet with the frost.
The yacon leaves shriveled and the tubers underground wait until next season to grow again – the tubers are really sweet with the frost.

Frost sets back many pest species in a garden – chewing and sucking insects, etc.

The worms and soil beneficial life move down in the soil to more even temperatures and wait until spring to return – as do gardeners!