wild luffa update

dried wild luffas

dried wild luffas

We have been busy preparing for our departure soon. No more EMT classes. Just our Final Exam on monday, our skills final next friday, and then the National Registry exam sometime soon after. We moved about 5 tercel car-loads of boxes from my old storage unit to the new storage unit this week, and went through most of it. Feels good. The next challenge will be fitting everything we need for the summer into the tercel.

Recently I have been working on curing the wild luffas we found several weeks ago. We began by laying them on our porch to dry in the sun:

drying wild cucumbers, or "wild luffas"

drying wild cucumbers, or “wild luffas”

But this was taking forever, and we don’t have forever. So we decided to speed up the process by placing them in my home-made solar oven:

wild luffas drying in home-made solar oven

wild luffas drying in home-made solar oven

This turned out to be very effective. After several weeks of sitting on the porch, it took less than a week for them to dry in the home-made solar oven. Next step: boiling for about 30 minutes:

boiling dried luffas

boiling dried luffas

After boiling them for at least 30 minutes, I removed them and was able to peel off the outer layer of spines:

IMG_2110

Two of the luffas were easy to peel, while the smaller ones were more difficult. A handful of nice seeds fell out of the luffas. Since we prematurely sped up the drying process, I believe some of the seeds did not reach their full browness, but these can be saved to grow more in your backyard, or we thought about drilling holes in them and making wild cucumber seed neclaces. We’ll see.

dried wild luffa, skin, and seeds

dried wild luffa, skin, and seeds

Pretty cool, huh? They went from mysterious Dr. Suess looking alien plants to usable luffa sponges. I will say that the final product is a bit dry and brittle. I am going to try oiling them a bit before I try to use them as a bath or kitchen scrubbie. And in either case, they could be added to some gourds and made into a nice harvest centerpeice. We are hoping to do a lot of foraging and wildcrafting this summer and will share what we learn!

Happy foraging,

Emily

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