Edible gardening guide

How to grow delicious vegetables, herbs, and fruit at home

8 global crops for your edible garden

Goodbye, peas and carrots—try growing these unusual, and lesser-known, vegetables

Chilacayote

Chilacayote

Cucurbita ficifolia

Origin: Central America and Mexico

Definition: A summer squash that can be eaten young, or left to grow large like a watermelon; pronounced chill-a-cah-yo-teh.

Synonyms: Fig-leafed gourd

Uses: If it’s young, cook as you would zucchini. If it’s giant, candy it as in Mexico and Central and South America: Peel, then simmer for hours in water with brown sugar and cinnamon until it’s coated with gooey syrup. The black and white seeds are baked into a brittlelike candy called palanquetas. 

Grow it: While chilacayote is easy to grow—put it in a sunny spot and give it plenty of space—finding seeds is nearly impossible. 

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