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From gourd to sponge

December 18, 2011

(*The last post was just me complaining about having to do the tree thing so I figured I’d make it up to you with a gourd post.)

Many of the loofahs are drying sufficiently enough to peel; this weekend I decided to process a few to see how difficult this whole deal is going to be.

Processing means:

  1. Allowing to dry, preferably on the vine, to the point that the gourd feels light and hollow and the seeds rattle.
  2. Breaking the bottom tip off and shaking the seeds out
  3. Breaking the top off @ the stem and pulling the “strings” down the sides to break the skins back for peeling. These strings run down the sides under the stripes to the bottom of the gourd. Like opening a FedEx envelope sort of…
  4. Peeling the skin off
  5. Once peeled, the skeletal innards should be soaked in water with a good shot of bleach in it.
  6. After bleaching the loofahs need to be rinsed and allowed to dry.
  7. Presto, you have loofah “sponges”.

Still too green and heavy to pick and peel:

Supplemental drying on a warm stack of rocks for those whose vines couldn’t hold them off the ground (I also have wire racks in my new ladder shed with a couple dozen drying under cover):

A few peeled (note the half inch deep layer of black seeds underneath in the bin.

These are actually pretty decent; I was concerned they wouldn’t be tough enough or substantial enough to hold up. I think they will do just fine. These are immersed in a bleach solution in a 5 gallon bucket as I type this. I’ll rinse and let them dry in the sun tomorrow.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2011 6:30 am

    Wow! So many loofahs. Will you use them all? How long do they last? I’ve never grown them or even seen them growing. They would make cool Christmas pressies.

    • December 20, 2011 7:26 am

      Ha. We couldn’t possibly use them all so we plan to give plenty away for Christmas. They wear remarkably well considering they are organic matter…. How long they last depends on the use. For pot scrubbing probably a few weeks, as a personal bathing sponge probably a year. ? I really don’t know.
      They were just this past season’s experiment; the previous year I grew bottle or birdhouse gourds like those in the header above this page. Our long hot summers are perfect for these big vines- they don’t do well in northern latitudes I am told.

  2. December 21, 2011 12:08 pm

    I definitely want to try growing these once we have a garden again. You had great success! I’m envisioning cutting them into chunks with a bread knife… haha.

  3. January 17, 2012 3:28 pm

    Awesome yield I want to try that next year two. Willing to part with some seeds? I might could pay you in jelly. 😉

    • January 17, 2012 6:30 pm

      Sure. I only have about 600. 🙂

      The first 1000 or so got caught in an open container that filled with rainwater for a few days before i realized it. Who knows, they might still be oK

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