How to Prepare Sayote, and Why You Need to "Milk" It

A quick guide on how to prepare sayote (or chayote), and why you should get rid of the "milk" that comes out of it.
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Once you start peeling or slicing sayote, you’ll notice a milky-white fluid sweating out from the rind. That's the sayote’s sap, or dagta in Tagalog. While technically harmless, the sap can get in the way of prep and make your hands very sticky, or worse, cause skin irritations.

What is Sayote?
Sayote, also known as tsayote, chayote, or choko, is a pear-shaped squash grown mostly in the mountainous regions of Northern Philippines. It's technically a fruit, but is considered a vegetable in taste and preparation. Sayote has a firm, crisp texture similar to singkamas (jicama), and a mildly sweet flavor comparable to cucumbers and apples.

To get rid of the sap, you need to “milk” your sayote first. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Slice the sayote with a sharp knife. You can either divide it in half, or slice off a small, 1 inch-thick piece at the tip.
  2. Rub the cut sides of the sayote together to draw out the sap. A white foam should form around the edges and on the surface of the sayote.
  3. Once you get all of the sap out, rinse it off with running water. Your sayote is now ready to use.

Chop up your sayote into smaller pieces for your chicken tinola. If you're feeling creative, check out the many ways you can prepare sayote—from salads to apple pie filling!