by Ana Morlier, The Crazy Plant Lady
Happy November, everyone! Time for a month of thanks, warm foods, and delightful decorations. What better way to celebrate this festive month than with gourds? While you may only note them for their scant appearance on the dinner table, the gourd is a rather unappreciated vegetable. As detailed below, you can make hearty meals, embellishments, or bowls, amongst other purposes. Read on to find a new way to appreciate the gourd.
As the name implies, these types of gourds make lovely decorations. The most common ornamental gourd you’ll find is the winged gourd. They can be smooth, bumpy, multicolored, plain orange, or yellow. The varieties for this gourd are seemingly endless! Daisy gourds are another striking variety. When viewed from above, the gourds appear to have a flower pattern with colors of white, yellow, green, and orange.
All the gourds that accompany fall flavors! To make spaghetti squash, wash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, then bake with a bit of butter in the hole in the center. Once it’s cooked, run a fork along the length of the squash. The fibers are about the same size as spaghetti noodles and will break apart. Once separated, add a bit of salt and pepper. For a succulent squash soup, peel the skin with a vegetable peeler and microwave for 5-6 minutes so that it is easier to cut. Place in a crock pot or soup pot with two cups of chicken stock, chives, butter, garlic salt, pepper, and a dash of dill. Acorn squash can also be roasted for a savory treat.
To make use of these types of gourds, one must begin by drying out the gourds. Gourds certainly take quite a while to dry, but when they do, you can make your gourd into anything you want! In the past, gourds have been used as bowls, ladles, and canteens. You can also use your dried gourd to make flower pots, vases, or whatever you think of! The key is to draw a line to cut the circumference of your chosen object, as it provides a guide to cut along and prevents any uneven layers. The best types of gourds for this purpose include canteen, bushel basket, and bottle.
Instructions to dry: Wash the exterior, rinse until water runs clear, and let dry (outside, preferably away from cold and sun). Best places to dry your gourds are in the garage or the barn on an even, elevated surface for six weeks, minimum (you can dry in your house, but just know that they will smell as they dry out!).
Scrape any mold off with a butter knife or wipe it off with a rag. Rotate the gourd every one to two weeks to ensure air circulation.
Alternative method (illustrated in photo on left*): Tie a string to the stalk and hang to dry in a well-ventilated building, from tree branches, or fencing. Drill three holes in the bottom of your gourd (use a nail) and weave a string through these holes and hang, so the holes face the floor. Place a plate or newspaper below the gourd to catch any moisture from the holes. May you celebrate fall in a squash-tacular way! Whether you make a delicious meal, cool craft, or decoration, may it bring joy to you and your family. Happy November everyone and thank you for reading this column! Want to re-read any of my old articles? Visit https://crazyplantladybanner.weebly.com/ for archived articles or to suggest topics for me to write about