Loofing Luffas

Not only did the last frost cause the demise of my peppers, but the luffas took a hit as well.   They are a little slow to get started but once they get going they really get going.  All of their bed companions have long since been composted.  They are left hanging on a season weary trellis, daring the frost to come and finish them off.

Bedraggled Luffa plant
Once the frost hit the plant there was no recovery. The best thing was to remove the plant as it had become a bit of an eyesore.

And so it was –  the final summer crop was removed from the garden, its stalks and stems composted and its fruit harvested.   It is always a fun crop to grow, not to eat – although you can eat the young luffas, but it has a surprising use.

This was the haul from just one plant. It is almost a shame the frost came when it did as there are some lovely straight ones among the green ones.

Most people think the luffa sponges that find their way into bathrooms everywhere come from the sea.  Or little thought is given to their origin as they are scraped up and down dried skin to restore a soft smoothness.    However, it isn’t anything as fancy as an exotic sea creature, but a humble vine that can be grown easily in most gardens.

Green luffa
I tried to loof the green luffa but it was a disaster. The flesh was still too soggy and the fibre was just to soft to be of any use. It was more like a stringy zucchini.

Exposing the wonderful exfoliating fibre from the plant is a simple process:

Dried Luffa
The best luffa to loof is one that has dried on the plant and still intact with the bottom ‘bung’ still attached.
Dried Luffa
Remove the ‘bung’ at the bottom – it should pop off easily.
Dried Luffa
Shake out all of the seeds. They look like each one has been carefully wrapped in tissue paper for safe keeping.
Peeling Luffas
Radiating out from the luffa stalk are fibres that run the length of the fruit. If you peel them away like you would taking the string out of a string bean, it makes it much easier to remove the dried skin
peeling luffas
The skin should easily come away and reveal the fibre below. You may need to do a bit of chipping way at it, but nothing too difficult.
And there you have it – loofed luffa ready to scrub the rough gardeners skin.

Told you it was easy.  If you haven’t grown luffas before then give it a go – they are such fun and will make wonderful gifts – if you don’t keep them all for yourself, because they are really cool.

Come again soon – its winter tomorrow.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

2 thoughts on “Loofing Luffas

    1. It is so easy to not even think about some common things around us. They make fab gifts because people don’t expect you to have grown them and they are so easy to grow. : o)

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