New Roots is a partnership of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate KC

Luffa Gourd

Luffa gourd (Luffa cylindrica) is a type of gourd that is native to Asia. It has been cultivated for centuries and was first mentioned in writing in China in the 2nd century BCE. Luffa gourd was introduced to Europe by the Arabs in the 10th century and to the Americas by the Spanish in the 16th century. Today, luffa gourd is grown all over the world and is a popular vegetable in many cuisines.

Culinary Uses

The young, immature luffa gourd can be eaten as a vegetable. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. It can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as stir-fried, steamed, or roasted.

The mature luffa gourd is fibrous and cannot be eaten. However, the fibrous interior can be dried and used as a natural sponge. Luffa sponges are often used for bathing, exfoliating, and cleaning.

Other Uses

In addition to its culinary and household uses, luffa gourd is also used in traditional medicine. The seeds of the luffa gourd are said to have diuretic and laxative properties. The leaves of the luffa gourd are said to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.