7 steps to mak­ing a luffa sponge

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

Harvest luffas when they have ma­tured on the vine, leav­ing them as long as pos­si­ble. If the fruit are not ripe by the first frost, they will need pro­tec­tion from frost to ma­ture prop­erly. 1 If nec­es­sary, leave ripe luffa to dry for a few weeks af­ter harvest, un­til the skin is brown. Fruits that are still green pro­duce soft, fine-tex­tured sponges that don’t last. The fruit are ready when they are light, with dry, dark yel­low or brown skin. 2 Open the larger end of the luffa and shake out the seeds. 3 Peel off the thick outer skin and clean the in­te­rior – if the luffa is ma­ture, seeds and skin should come off eas­ily. 4 If nec­es­sary, use wa­ter pres­sure to re­move the seeds and pulp and to wash out sap colour. It may be nec­es­sary to soak it for a few days to com­pletely re­move all pulp and skin. 5 Stains or dark spots can be bleached out by soak­ing it in a bucket of wa­ter with a cup of bleach. Only bleach long enough to re­move stains. 6 Let the gourd dry com­pletely in the sun, or in a warm spot in­doors, ro­tat­ing to make sure dry­ing is even. Sun­light will lighten and change the colour, and over time the tex­ture will be­come rougher. This may take a few weeks. Sponges should be com­pletely dry be­fore stor­ing to avoid mould growth. 7 Once dried, luffas will store for years if they are kept dry and dust-free.

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