What should I do with snake gourds?

August 5, 2005

I usually read hot pepper and tomato forums and found this one when looking for info about snake gourds.

I planted pumpkins, snake and swan gourds on one area of our yard. Only two pumpkins germinated and rest of the plants were gourds. The pumpkins got SVB and wilted and now whole area and also our strawberry rows are covered by gourd vines.

The gourds have been blooming, but so far I had noticed only the white male flowers. Yesterday I noticed this big pale green "thing" under the leaves. It is over 4" thick and must be 2' long an it is curved. There may be more of them under the leaves, if I start looking.

Can we eat the gourds or should I let them grow and try to cure them? I bought the seed packets, because they had pictures of the painted gourds on the front and our son liked them. Since we do not get any pumpkins this year, these may make good fall time craft projects.

Comments (11)

  • DapperDahlia

    those little green things are possibly your gourds growing. DO they have little flowers ont he end or remnats of them? Then theyare definitly a gourd it you flowers on them. I'm not sure about eating gourds i think it possible at some point but i'm not sure when exactly.

  • gourd_friends

    Very few gourds are edible and then only in their very young stage. Gourd flesh is bitter and dense....not very tasty.
    If you want your gourds for crafting, you will need to leave the gourds on the vines until the stems are brown and dry. Then keep them over winter, checking every few months to see when they are dry. They will feel very lightweight and you will possibly hear some seeds rattling when they are dry.
    They will have molded and peeling skin by this time. There are a variety of methods for cleaning the skin. After that, they are ready for crafting. You will need to be patient while they may take several months.

    If you plan to use them in your autumn decorations, just pick them and use them as you need them. Be aware they may not dry properly as discussed above.


  • uncleron

    i have heard that if you plant you'r gourds next to (what ever) you may get a cross between a gourd and whatever you planted.and as far as eating gours i have never heard of that so far.i do know if you do not cover you'r mouth when sanding a gourd when they are dry you will get a very,very, bitter taste in you'r mouth,so i suppose i whouldn't want to try to eat one,even when they are young!!! i do think that i have read a book that said the early american indians used to eat gourds but i do not know what kind they were.

  • sunita

    Hi! I'm from India and grow gourds on my farm.Snake gourds are not only edible but they're actually very tasty. The trick is to cook them before they get all woody and hard when the seeds inside mature.A light saute with a seasoning of salt, pepper and a bit of coconut (if you like the taste of coconut) makes a great change from heavy food. I normally serve it with rice at home.
    I grow snake gourds and bottle gourds in my farm during the monsoon season. (Here, contrary to what everyone usually says, the monsoon season is when everyone grows gourds). Unfortunately we dont have access to seeds of most types of gourds... or rather the interesting ones used for crafting.
    Bottle gourd, sponge gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, bitter gourd. Thats it! All edible ones, by the way, but not very interesting for crafting.I recently got hooked on gourd crafting via the Net and ever since I've been possessively keeping an eagle eye on the bottle gourds. The others do get eaten but the bitter gourd is definitely not a favourite!

  • lalunita

    My chinese neighbors all grow these hugh different shaped squash. They gave us a large eggs shaped one and we stirred fried it last night. It was good, not sweet like most winter squash.

    This morning the light bulb went on and I think it was a gourd. The cavity was hugh and yet the outside shell was less than and inch thick. Much less after cutting offf the outside skin.

    We only used half and let the unused half sit out on the sink for a while. When putting it in the fridge, later, we noticed the beads of moisture that had formed around the rim. When pushing them off they we like clear silicone beads. Very Odd.

    I found this post when trying to find out if its ok to eat them. My chinese neighbors have been eating them for centuries.

  • gourd_friends

    There are many varieties of squash, and some would resemble a gourd. What color is the squash --shell and flesh? Did it cut easily, or can you break or dent the skin by pushing your fingernail into it? Is it smooth, bumpy or does it have ridges?
    What do the seeds look like? are they a smooth oval shape? are they brown and oddly shaped?
    Ask the neighbors what it is called...we like a variety of squash called Tetsukabuto. It has a dark green skin and orange-ish flesh, about the size of a pineapple, and is a little sweet. It is good to cut into strips, peel, and pan fry in margarine. We add a bit of brown sugar near the end of the cooking time.


  • nonacook

    I had a vietnamese couple stop last year and want to buy some of my snake gourds to eat. I had plenty and GAVE them what they wanted. This year there was puny gourd growing because of all the Tropical storms and hurricanes here. You can eat young luffa gourds, slice and meal them and fry like you would sliced yellow squash.

  • sunita

    Hmmm, I'm confused. What we call snake gourd in India is not apparently what you do. I just realised this from seeing the photo someone had posted in one of the threads about snake gourds. The gourd we call snake gourd is really long and thin and silvery grey.

  • sazji (Seattle, Zone 8a)

    They definitely eat them in Turkey. Here is a picture of a guy selling them in our Saturday neighborhood market. They are not very well known however; out of several hundred stalls he was the only one selling them. I also got many odd looks as I carried it home. :) One guy said "you can't eat that, it's a 'water gourd!'" (Water gourd is what they call the dipper/birdhouse gourds here.) They are popular evidently in the area of Kastamonu, about 8 hours east of here. The flesh is not bad, it reminds me a bit of a zucchini. They are mostly used for stuffing here.

  • philip_maltese

    In Malta we have eaten them for ages. I cannot remember a year we did not grow them.All that the vine needs is to be watered at least daily. One method is to cut the outer part in cubes(discard the white internal) and use them in soups and minestrone. One can cut sections of about six inches, hollow them and stuff them with a mixture of minced meat,cheese, eggs, parsley, breadcrumbs etc and then lower them in soup till they cook. They can be also cut lenghtwise, hollowed and stuffed and cooked in an oven. Another use is to let them simmer in sugar syrup till they thoroughly cook and become transparent, and then preserve them in jars. They keep for years. I always use them with(or instead of) the candied peel in the Cristmas cakes.

  • tonyisnowhere_yahoo_com

    In Sicily we call them Cucuzza. They look similar to the picture posted by sazji 8bNW Turkey. Some Cucuzza is thin and long others are shaped more like a baseball bat. Thin on top and get larger toward the bottom. Many southern Italians grow them here in the USA. You can eat the young tender leaves of these gourds too. My favorite summer meal.

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