I've had a surprise harvest. Having left the loofa vines in the ground since they were extra lush and having taken over the whole row of trellises and starting their meander over the fence, they have finally decided to blossom and produce.
They're easy to prepare, I just peel off the skin and then saute in olive oil with a little garlic and salt and pepper, and maybe a dash of nuoc mam.
I'm also growing a smooth variety called Summer Cross but the fruit it's forming are irregular and dying on the vine, perhaps the plants are more susceptible to squash and harlequin bugs.
Please join us at Harvest Monday where new and experienced gardeners share their delightful vegetables.
Interesting photo documentary on loofa (loopha? loofah?). They might be just the thing to grow on an unused area next to a fence.
Thanks for the interesting post on luffas. It sure took a long time for them to produce in your warmer climate. Not sure they would produce here before frost shuts them down.
Fascinating. The leaves definitely say cucurbit. I don't believe I've ever had the opportunity to try them.
What an amazing loofah crop you have this year! Love the idea of nuoc mam with them... I might try this with our immature pattypans. Thank you for the tip
I actually did have loofah on my list of things to grow, but not for eating. I didn't even realize that you could eat them until I read that on your blog. Now I'm wondering if you plan on drying any for use as a loofah sponge?
I also had no clue that you can eat loofahs. They look like an interesting plant to grow.
Your patience certainly was amply rewarded! They are such an interesting looking vegetable.
Hi Eight Gate,
They do end up taking quite a bit of space, but they are fun to grow even though it sometimes feels like forever before they start blossoming. But the fruits do grow quickly once they set. I've read where it suggests they're daylight sensitive, so they might actually flower better in your neck of the woods.
They definitely seem to require a long growing season. It's been much cooler at night and they're blossoming like crazy which makes me wonder if temperatures affect them. Either way, they'r nice to have when everything else in the garden is waning.
I had a chance to try them when my dad brought some by on a visit from northern Virginia and thought they were delicious. This year is the best they've ever done for me. I should probably start watering them though, a single bitter fruit can be off-putting.
I do think nuoc mam goes very well with summer squash stir-fries. My patty pans did nothing this year because of the vine borers. But yours look like they have done spectacularly. And your winter squashes are especially beautiful.
We do have a couple more months before the frost hits, so there should be plenty of time to get a bunch to ripen. This is our first bumper harvest of luffas, so it would actually be worthwhile to try to get some sponges out of them.
They're definitely rampaging sort of plants that love to climb, but are very care free. They don't seem susceptible to mildews the way cucumbers are.
I'm very glad I waited, the plants just looked too good to cut down. At those sizes in the picture, they were actually seedless or had very soft immature seeds.
I've never tried the edible luffa but did grow the sponge type and it was very viny too. Thanks for sharing how you prepare them!
I've ever eaten loofahs. It only ones that I have come across the ones that you use at bath time.
Thanks for the introduction to loofahs. I have never seen one growing, and I had no idea you could eat them. Is this the same kind that are used for loofah sponges?
Was it the smooth luffa that you grew? I think the smooth ones are long and fat and the angled ones are long and narrower.
Both of them get fibrous when mature so can be used as sponges but the angled ones are used more often for eating. Supposedly because the angled ones are less likely to get bitter, but I don't know if that's really true.
The size of the sponge very much depends on variety, I don't think the ones we're growing get as big as those back scrubbers on a stick.
They can be a challenge to grow, I think our incredibly wet August helped out with their production.
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