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I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.


While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When a Choko is not a Choko

Travelling around the Illawarra, there are still signs of this horrible weed growing everywhere....It's on my mind.....I wonder if there is a plan in place to try and eradicate it? New Zealand are making the public aware of how to illiminate this noxious weed, which is number one on the countries weed list.

My camera finally decided to hand over these photos...which I am thankful for, as I also now have some photos from when I went and seen April on National Permaculture Day....(that's another post to come).


Araujia hortorum, Moth vine

Araujia hortorum, Moth vine

When the plant is showing it's choko-like pods...these seed pods become dry and split, releasing anything up to one thousand seeds, which are spread with the wind. Which can take them hundreds of kilometres.

Araujia hortorum, Moth vine

If you have this weed growing in your garden, you need to take measures to get rid of it. As you see seedlings, and young vines....pull them up and let them die. If there are seed pods on the vine, these should be removed and disposed of in your general rubbish. Do not put them in your compost!

You can also cut the stems of larger plants and paint the ends with a herbicide gel to prevent re-growth. If you prefer not to use a herbicide, simply cut the stems on a regular basis, and check vigilantly for any re-growth.

Be careful with the sap of this plant...The sap can be a skin and eye irritant...so when dealing with it, always wear long sleeves and gloves. If you would like to read more about this weed click here.

I wonder if there are plans in place to try and irradicate this horrible weed? It is suffocating our natural bush as well as our gardens.

Sometimes confused with this lovely plant.....
which is edible...The choko


I have been growing Choko's in my garden every year for the past 4 years...I use them to make pickles, jams, and even sweet pies......The fruit takes on the flavour of a host fruit....so if you were to make Pineapple Jam for example....you could use one pineapple, and a couple of pounds of Choko's.....and the finished preserve would taste like Pineapple Jam....Brilliant!!...You can also steam them and serve with butter, salt & pepper, or make them into a lovely soup. Such a versatile fruit really!
My Nan used to do a whole heap of baking for the local Red Cross stall....and she stretched fruits as far as she could...using Choko in Apple Pies,.....(I even remember her using gramma in apple pies).....but she also used Choko's for preserves like I described above.
Here are some photos of the good Choko's from my garden..........
Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko


Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

Sechium edule - Choko

I usually get two crops each year....and often give away heaps......at the moment, fruit are budding again, but with cold nights the tiny things are dropping off the vine. I have two vines in, as long as it doesn't die off completely at the  base.....I think I will have it for many years to come. 
Do you have a choko vine? Would you like to grow a Choko Vine? 

16 comments:

  1. I have thought of growing choko, but does it grow in the wet or dry season? It seems to take up a lot of room, and I always grow loofas in the wet season, so not sure I could grow both. the loofas totally die down in the dry season.

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  2. You know Nelly, out of every food in the entire world, choko is the only one I don't like. As a young girl, I was made to eat it and couldn't leave the table until I did. It was cold and flavourless. It was just awful.

    But I do have fond memories of eating it in many fruit pies and preserves that my Mum and Nanna made. It really is good for that.

    Anne

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  3. Oh I would love to grow a choko vine :-) Yummmoo!!!

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  4. Just wanted to let you know that we mexicans call it chayote, and it is considered a vegtable plant in the squash family, we cook it in soups (caldo)or boil and peel it , and eat it with lemon ,salt, and dried red chile.

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  5. Love my Choko Vine. We have 2 and I will plant a couple more this year.

    I take it you can't eat the fruit from those Moth Vines?

    Barb.

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  6. africanaussie: You could always try growing both...although you would probably need a separate space for each one...as the choko gives you two growing seasons over the year...and I think one would overlap your loofah.....Oh I wish I could grow loofa...I sooo want a supply of natural scrubbers.

    Anne: they are a tad lacking in flavour...and I don't think our parents were as experimental with foods and spices back then....I remember having plain boiled veg too....

    Ladyleaves, If you are in Australia, and depending on the state, I could send you one if you like...some I have now are starting to shoot..

    Anonymous: Thanks for pointing out that it is a veg and not a fruit...I must get out of the habit of calling it a fruit....do you find when you are peeling them, you need to wear gloves, due to them drying your hands out so much...I always wear gloves now.
    Barb, I'm thinking of putting another couple in too....what do you do with your Choko's?..and no you can't eat the fruit from the Moth Vines...did you see the dripping white sap on the photo of the seed pod....that is usually a give-away for a plant being poisonous.

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    Replies
    1. Nellymary you needn't stop calling it a fruit because for one thing it is used both for veg as well as fruit but mainly the rule of thumb is if it has seed/s its a fruit. That is why tomato is supposedly a fruit though we use it as a veg.

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  7. Hiyas,
    I have rediscovered choko just recent;y and am pleasantly surprised. my mum used to cook it with butter, it was okay but that's all. I have found that whatever you cook them with they take on that flavour thus increasing a flavoursome meal in quantity. When I peel I just chop off the skin with a sharp knife on a chopping board so I don't actually come into contact with them on my hands. But I do know what you mean, the tightness of your skin is a horrible feeling. But the wasy the vine keeps producing fruit is astonishing, we have had temperatures down to nearly freezing and it just keeps making more fruit. I have heard they are so vigorous they can grow to the top of a pine tree.
    Dayla

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  8. Dayla: Yes, that tightness...I know no other fruit that does this to your hands when peeling...lol..Yes they are very vigorous...we had ours heading up the neighbours tree next door...but we caught it early...as it was far too high to pick any fruit up there, we chopped it off...It would just eat at me seeing fruit I couldn't pick...lol

    If anyone would like a Choko that is starting to shoot, I still have a few to barter with....I'm not asking for heaps, just something small to cover the postage.

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  9. I just love choko but Ihaven't been able to grow one here before but this year I got 2 chokos, it is frosted back now but I hope it will resprout in Spring.
    I have choko in stir fry, do a twist on a potato bake and make chutney with it and they taste best when picked small.

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    Replies
    1. Yes we have frost problems but you can find a protected area and place a sheet or something as well as extra mulch (not up to stem though) to protect it) and hopefully that will save a few. Then they can be planted in a warmer time and enjoyed then. My main problem is free range hens who just love to eat the choko and plant even though raw. They can fly and jump really well even with their wing clipped.

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  10. Hi Juhill..it sure will bounce back...My choko have become very popular around the neighbourhood...I'm even thinking about keeping a few shooting ones back for myself...Just the other day..I sent two pairs to lovely ladies in Queensland...I know they will have plenty of choko's for years to come....

    Even if I do keep some...I still have a few to barter with.

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  11. Hi: we have chokos at present and leeks so am going to try that soup recipe. Tonight we are having stuffed capsicum for tea; as they are small caps I have bulked out remainder of mince with choko to make a 'fuller' main meal. I know they are bland, but I have always liked choko and they don't go bad quickly.

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  12. Hi there.
    In reference to the destructive weed vine that looks like an edible choko fruit.
    The vine is in my parents yard and now that the property is rented the vine has gone crazy and has throttled the life out of two beautiful huge 18 year old pine trees and some of the other smaller bushes.
    The seed pod on it looks just like a choko hanging on the vine and eventually opens up and lets out hundreds of white fluffy seeds that as children, we used to call Santa Clauses.
    The vine is quite nice looking, gets white flowers before the choko like seed pods, when you notice it growing in a bush or along a fence as ours did.
    You have to cut it off and poison it in some way, but still keep an eye on it as it travels along underground and will come to the surface when it finds a host bush or tree to climb in and if left will eventually strangle.
    Marion

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  13. Hello
    I too suffer from that dreaded weed, my neighbour on one side has poisoned all in her yard, I pull them out as soon as I see them (I grow vegies and herbs so am reluctant to use herbicides) but the neighbour on the other side lets it run wild so it will be an ongoing problem. It is a truly awful weed, when I moved in I spent many days dragging it out of the lovely trees in my garden and personally suffering from that awful sap (horrible skin irritation). I have planted a choko this year as I love the fruit but hate paying up to $7 a kilo for them and have had a bumper crop so thank you for your recipes which I am going to try out this weekend. Looking forward to the choko and zucchini slice!
    Love your site.
    Maxine

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  14. Try steamed choko tossed in butter and five spice powder...yum...

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