LOOFAH, LUFFA GOURD

Small (less than 6 inches long) young luffa gourds may be used as a vegetable either prepared like squash, eaten raw like cucumbers or pickled.  Some varieties are sweeter than others, particularly of the smooth type.   Seeds are pressed for cooking oil.  CAUTION: Bitter types should not be eaten, as some poisonous properties have been reported.

These edible gourds are native to the Old World tropics. There are several species, generally about a foot long, and the mature fruits contain a spongy material known as loofah. Loofahs can be used as sponges, and before World War II, most of the U.S. production was used as filters in ships boilers. They are also used for insulation and to stuff pillows.
 

 

 

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