Our luffas

Dave planted some luffas for us last summer, growing them in tomato cages.

Look at those vines!
Look at those vines!
Giant Luffah
Luffa aegyptiaca

I harvested these gourds, also know as Dishrag Gourd or Vegetable Sponge, back in November.

Harvested Luffas
Hedgehog Loofas
Hedgehog Luffas

Since then they have been drying in the garage. I checked on them when we returned from our trip and the Dishrag Gourds looked ready to peel. The hedgehogs aren’t quite dry enough.

I tried two different ways to remove the skin. One was to soak the gourd. I thought that was way too much trouble and harder.

The second method I just peeled the skin off dry using a scissors to help me.

Here is loofa with some of the skin peeled away.
Here is the luffa with some of the skin peeled away.

So this is how it looked with all of the skin removed.

Naked Loofa
Naked Luffa

I then cut the luffa into manageable sizes and ran it under water.

Soaking and squeezing the loofa
Soaking and squeezing the luffa

While I was running it under the water, I squeezed it until I removed as many seeds as possible.

Next to get rid of any mold spores, I made a weak bleach solution – 1 tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water –  and soaked them for an hour.

When I removed them from the bleach bath, I rinsed them, and then squeezed them to get the water out and remove more seeds.

Once I was happy with the results, I put them on a rack to dry.

Loofa ready to dry
Luffas ready to dry
Luffas on drying rack
Luffas on drying rack

Once they were dried, I shook them again to get all of the seeds out.

Now, what am I going to do with these?

The main reason we grew these gourds was to put them in our soap.  All I’ll need to do is drop a slice into one of our silicon molds and pour over it.

Loofa in silicon mold
Loofa slice in silicon mold

If you don’t have a mold, you can make one with parchment paper or freezer paper (shiny side inside) and rubber bands like this one.

freezer paper mold
freezer paper mold

But I also wanted to grind some up and just add it to the soap as a natural exfoliant.

Ground loofas
Ground luffa

Removing the skin and the seeds takes a little time, but it’s really neat to be able to use our own stuff in our soaps.

But let’s not forget about crafts.

Stamping with the loofah
Stamping with the luffa

Let’s stamp some more.

More loofah stamping
More luffa stamping

Of course, I’m not done. I have to add more.

Background paper made with loofah stamping
Background paper made with luffa stamping

That was fun. I could also use them as a sponge in the shower. Any other ideas out there for these luffas?