Home grown Loofah October 26 2012
Most of us already know loofah is a scrubbing sponge used in kitchens, and bathrooms, but did you know that loofah is also edible!? Yes! It makes a delicious and neutrious meal when harvested at its young and soft stage. It is also packed with dietary fiber, vitamin C, zinc, thiamin, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and it is low in fat and calories making it one of the ideal foods for weight loss. It also treats jaundice (yellowing of the skin usually due to poor liver function) as it strengthens your immue system, and it helps restore and nourish your liver.
Loofah has a mild sweet taste, and are very juicy. The inside of the loofah is white, soft almost like cotton, they don't feel watery at all, but when cooked all the liquid would fill the pan! To make this dish, all I need to do is peel the skin, slice them, and throw them in a pan (sometimes with oil and sometimes without). When they are cooked, I basically have a loofah soup! Add a dash of salt (I prefer sea salt), and the dish is ready!
After my meal, I blend the skin peeled skin with some honey, and or aloe then turn it into a face/body scrub. After scrubbing I like to leave it on my skin for about half an hour. It helps adding moisture on my skin.
Loofah is originated in the Arabic desserts, and they have made their way to Afraica and Asia. This vegetable is part of the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family. Yes, loofah and cucumbers are a type of guard. They especially love the heat/humidity, sun, and moist soil. It's a very quick satisfaction type of crop to grow since their life span is so short. This crop grows the fastest in the late spring and throughout summer. This vine can spread up to a few feet per day on each branch, and the loofah only takes a couple of weeks to develop to an edible size. After the first few are ready to harvest, the other baby loofahs are already catching up. One plant was plenty to supply a small family with a loofah to eat almost every day! Now the weather is cooling down as we are approaching autumn, the crop is also slowing down its productivity.
The photo above, I'm holding is my mom's 2nd largest loofah! We decided that she should let the largest grow to its max. We shall see! Or let it dry on the vine so we can extract the seeds for next year, and make a sponge out of it!
Loofah is such a fun vine to grow, but one should only grow it when there's a lot of space for this crazy vine to climb. My mom had no idea it was such a fast climber plant. Thus, with a patio the size of a hallway, this plant had really kept her busy daily training it not to climb on the house! You have been forewarned. :) Try the vegetable if you get a chance though! It's very tasty.