Have you ever used a loofah sponge during your bath or cleaning your home? Have you ever thought about how these are made? I always thought they came out of the ocean. To my surprise, loofah sponges are made from a vegetable. Wait, did you say a vegetable?
Yes, they are fibrous flesh of the mature luffa gourds. And you can grow them in your home garden. The Catawba Trail Farm is growing them this year. Loofahs are a part of the gourd family and their distant cousins are squashes, watermelons, cucumbers, melons and the hard-shelled gourds.
In the United States we mostly grow loofahs for sponges. But how are they turned into the sponges we use for bath’s. We allow them to mature on the vine until they turn yellow or brownish, and then peeled to reveal the matrix of tough fibrous tissues inside that acts as wonderful natural sponges. Can you eat loofah? Yes, it is best to get them green off the vines while they are young and small. This young fruit tastes similar to summer squash. So if you want to learn more about loofahs come on out to the farm and to see what else we are growing.
Urban Community AgriNomics