When I peel chayotes and handle the raw flesh of the fruit, my fingers get sticky and a white solid "film" forms on my fingers. The film makes my skin feel restricted/tight. I washed my hands with soap but it doesn't go away. Is this normal? Is there a name for this chemical reaction?
This problem can occur with several foods including squashes, pumpkins, zucchini, and even cucumber. From what I’ve read, it is caused by a sort of sap that the fruit emits when it is cut, and it’s worse in fruits that aren’t fully ripe. (Fruit is used in the botanical sense.) Remove by simply soak your hands in warm soapy water for about 5 minutes. Then scrub them with the scrubby side of a sponge. Be sure to scrub any surface area that had the film on it. You can soak your hands longer and less scrubbing will be required.
That is the starch oxidizing, which according to the rather interesting research is methanol soluble - so you could probably use rubbing alcohol, vodka or even lemon juice to clean your hands effectively.
I looked at the thread about butternut, and in my opinion, it seems that the clear to yellowish sap released upon bruising of the flesh of the vegetable has evolved as a self-healing self-defense system. It appears to be an oxidizing agent that absorbs and crystallizes with moisture, which binds bacteria, microorganisms and insects. And dries out your skin.