Weekly tips to bring island-inspired wellness into your everyday life from the wellness and spa team at Rosalie Bay Resort. Post written by spa therapist Roydon Bannis.
Christophene, known as chayote among other names, is found throughout the tropics where the air is cool and soil is fertile. It grows on a vine with a tendency to climb and cover everything around it, and usually bears year round.
The vegetable, which is similar to a squash, varies in size, coloring – ranging from light yellow to dark green, and texture – from prickly to smooth (the prickly ones, when prepared, are the most delicious). It has an edible meal, soft seed at the center, and can be stored from 1-3 weeks or even longer when cut, peeled and refrigerated.
Methods of preparation are innumerable and include stir fried, steamed, cooked, baked or occasionally cut, peeled and left to drain in a glass to enjoy raw. At Rosalie Bay, the christophene can often be found in soups and salads at Zamaan restaurant. During the island’s independence celebrations, you’ll find christophene in national dishes such as Crab Backs or on its own stuffed, steamed or baked.
Christophene also offers innumerable health benefits. It is rich in amino acids, vitamins C, K and B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium and dietary fiber. It is also low in saturated fat with small quantities of sodium, ascorbic acid, calcium, vitamin A, thiamin, and riboflavin.
The leaves and fruit have diuretic, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory purposes. Tea made from the leaves have been used in treating arteriosclerosis, hypertension and to dissolve kidney stones. Locally, christophene is used to treat inflammation, regulate high blood pressure and as part of a healthy diet for diabetics.
Here’s to the christophene, another amazing wonder among vegetables in the rich gardens of Dominica, and here’s to your health.