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Gourd Drying

Dry Gourds / Green Gourds

There are many methods of drying gourds, the natural method allows the gourd to dry out naturally. This can be done indoors or out, however some precautions should be observed.

Mold grows as gourds dry, therefore gourds should not be dried or left to dry in a garage or any room attached to a house or right up against the house. Mold consumes bio material, including wood and other things homes are made of. Dry your gourds away from the house, and if you wish to keep them mold free, wipe them every 2-3 days with a 10% bleach solution or 5% white vinegar, (5% is commonly sold already dilute, if the label says 5% use it straight)

Dry gourds off the ground. If you leave them setting directly on the ground they become prey to insects which will eat holes in them, including termites, (we've actually found a termite colony in the spring living inside a gourd), and mice and rats will also chew holes in your gourds and eat the seeds within.

Gourds left out in the winter to dry for some reason seem to dry more quickly, however extreme cold can kill the seeds inside the gourd, so if you wish to preserve your seeds, you should select one or two gourds for seeds, keep them in the garage or someplace protected from the extreme cold, and wipe them down every other day to prevent mold growth.

If you dry your gourds naturally and they have mold on them, please handle them with care and wear a respirator. Before you touch or move them, you should cover them with a drenched towel or cloth, and bring the cloth or towel into contact with the entire surface of the gourd to wet down the mold to prevent spores from releasing into the air by weighing them down with water. Wipe off as much mold as possible and transport them direclty to the cleaning process.

Drying a Green Gourd

This is the same process discussed in Gourd Cleaning and also in The Gourd Report

Some gourds the drying process can be rapidly accelerated by scraping the skin off with the back side of a table knife.  Do not attempt this on a Large gourd as the gourd moisture will leave the gourd faster than the gourd can harden, the end result wil be puckers and cracks in your beautiful gourd. 

Certain shapes of gourds do not fare well with the green cleaning process either.  Gourds with long straight edges, like snake gourds, dipper handles etc.  We have succesfully cleaned some types of dipper gourds while they were green, and we have even boiled small dippers that were green, and had them ready to craft within 24 hours, see The Gourd Report Vol 1. Just be aware that you may lose a gourd doing this.

one way to help prevent loss of a gourd in dry cleaning, is to let the gourd sit for a few weeks.  If you have several gourds of the same type that are sitting in the same area, watch them.  Within 2-4 weeks you may begin to see some browning around the stem or other narrow areas of the gourd.  These gourds are normally too thin, this is why they are drying first and an attempt to dry clean these gourds will most likely be desasterous, unless they are very small gourds like Sennari's.  The gourds that remain completely green the longest are normally the thickest or strongest shelled gourds, and these will have a greater chance of success than the others.

Dan Dunkin


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