Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Moldy Gourds: Curing Speckled Swan Gourds

Did you know that gourds often mold as they cure?  I didn't.  As the shell dries, mold may form.  As long as there are no soft spots, it's all good.  We grew Speckled Swan Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) this year.  These gourds take a long time to mature but they are very easy to grow, and very vigorous!  They have pretty white flowers as well.  They really pulled on our fence while they were growing because we had so many maturing.  They are not damaged by cold as easily as other gourds. 

Before the first hard frost and after the vines had died back, we harvested these babies.  I left at least 2" of stem on each.  I left them on our picnic table since the weather was still good for about 2 weeks.  The sun helped their skins harden.  Then I took them into the basement, wiped them with vinegar and set them near the boiler to dry.  Now that they are starting to get their mold on, I will likely move them somewhere we don't frequent.  I've read they can give off quite an odor when curing, though they smell fine now.  Where will they go?  Not sure yet...somewhere well ventilated that doesn't freeze much is best.  If most of them cure alright, I have a lot of birdhouse making ahead of me! 

Mold forming on the drying gourds is normal and can contribute to patterns on the finished dried gourd
Speckled Swan Gourds curing in the basement
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More gourd info...

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