Whether you spell it “luffa”, “loofahs”, or “lufah,” this sponge can be a great addition to any kitchen or bathroom. It’s a renewable resource that helps softens and exfoliates the skin while increasing circulation. It’s also a great way to scrub stubborn residue on dishes. These sponges are handy and can be found in a number of stores or can grow loofahs yourself.
History of Loofahs
The loofah that we know and love is actually a gourd member of the Cucurbitaceae family, making it similar to melons and the cucumber. A tropical plant, the loofah has varieties including the Luffa Acutangula (Asian) and Luffa Aegyptiaca (Egyptian). You can find a variety of loofah seeds online or at your nearest garden center.
Experts suggest germinating the seeds before putting them in a garden. Make sure to keep the loofah plant warm, moist, and in plenty of sunlight. Your new plant will need rich soil and proper drainage. The veins can grow over 12 feet long with bright yellow flowers, so be sure to install a trellis or support system.
The loofah fruit are edible when they’re young and green; they will resemble a large cucumber. To use them as a sponge, wait for the fruit to mature. The skin will turn a yellow/ brown color and become especially light. Cut the loofah away from the plant and shake to loosen the seeds. Then peel the skin away with a vegetable peeler, remove the seeds, and you’ll have your loofah.
Remember to wash the loofah before using them and this sponge from your garden can be a treat for you or a friend.