The netting was good inside... but getting the skins off? No process worked. I tried boiling water, letting them rot, drying, waiting until they were dry on the vine, picking them early, scraping with a knife... nothing worked.
I did some more research and discovered that my "loofahs" were actually "angle gourds."
This is an easy mistake. Both are loofahs... but only one is good for sponge-making.
I thought I had Luffa aegyptiaca... whereas I had Luffa acutangula.
After growing them once in Tennessee and once in Florida, I gave up.
The thing is, angle gourds don't give up as easy as I do. I threw some old ones in the compost pile in my food forest... and lookie here:
They're growing themselves!
Since the plant is so very persistent despite the heat and humidity, I decided to try the young fruits and see if they were tasty. The smell has put me off in the past: they have this rank green odor when the fruit and leaves are broken - yet to my surprise, the cooked young fruit are delicious and sweet... though they really do look strange.
They remind me of the Hindenburg.
The flavor: imagine the best of a zucchini mixed with a cucumber. Very good!
They're really good sauteed, incidentally.
|Why yes, that is bacon grease. And the beans? These guys.|
Now that I've tasted them and found them delicious, angle gourds now get the green light to ramble as far as they'd like.