Monday, November 4, 2013

How to dry Gourds

Gourds will dry out in the weather just fine. No, it won't hurt them to get wet from rain, nor will it hurt them to freeze. Yes, a hard freeze will kill the vines and leaves, but mature gourds will do just fine. Commercial growers don't pick their gourds from the fields until they are fully dry. Gourds are dry when they are very light in weight and the seeds rattle when they are shaken. Gourds that are left on the vine to dry, harden off much better and seem to be of much higher quality than gourds that have been picked while still green. 


REGARDLESS OF WHAT ANYONE TELLS YOU, NEVER SCRAPE A GREEN GOURD IN ANY WAY TO FACILITATE DRYING.

You're only ruining your gourd, and in most cases where this is done, the gourds will soon rot. That outer skin is the protective covering for your gourds and if you remove it, then you are only inviting trouble into your gourds. This also means, don't cut ANY large holes and scrape out the insides. In most cases, the gourd will soon cave in and collapse. If a gourd is not dried, then nothing should be done to it until it is.

The stem of a gourd is very porous and this is where much of the water inside the gourd will escape. If you cut your gourds off the vines, leave approximately 2 inches of stem intact. Pruning sheers or a very sharp knife should be used to cut gourds from the vine. NEVER just twist the stem to break it. This will allow infection into a green gourd and the stem will become useless for future use. The cut should be clean to allow the water to escape. Also, although we perceive the outside of a gourd to be hard, it is in reality, very porous and a good amount of the water will escape through the skin also.


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