Luffa Gourd Soap

Every year I plant a few luffa gourds or dishcloth gourds on my fences. Such a wonderful cucurbit that doesn’t seem to be affected by the dreadful squash beetle. They bloom later in the season and continue until frost. The bees can’t seem to get enough and I love having a continuous food source for them in the garden.

Although you can wait until the gourds turn brownish in color, I harvest when they are firm to the touch, still green and heavy. Some say you can wait to harvest after a light frost, big mistake for me as they all rotted that year.

Once I harvest, I cut the ends off with a sharp knife and knock the seeds into a 5 gallon bucket. Not all the seeds to cooperate but no worries, get out as many as are willing. Peal outside skin off by hand, then I dip them in water, squeeze as much water as I can out and lay them out to dry in the sun. The sun does a great job of drying but also helps to brighten the sponge color. Some folks add a little clorox to the water and soak them for a little while to bleach the sponges before wringing out and drying. I don’t mind if they are not white.

I don’t always get to all the luffas right after harvesting so I lay them out without touching one another on a table in the barn where they won’t freeze until I find some extra time to process them.

I needed some quick last minute gifts this year so after looking through my supplies I decided to make some scented goat soap scrubbies .

First I cut the luffa sponges into 3 inch slices and placed them in recycled containers and disposable cups. Next, I melted goat milk soap, added lavender and peppermint essential oil and poured it over the sponges.  After it cooled I removed the luffa filled soaps and voila, wonderful scrubbies!  I packaged them in cellophane bags tied with string and a piece of evergreen.  A nice gift anytime of year.

 

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