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Smooth Sponge Gourd
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Smooth Sponge gourds are long and cylindrical, averaging 12-30 centimeters in length and 10 centimeters in diameter. The smooth skin is a vibrant green with deep green lines running down the length of the fruit. The pale white flesh is firm when raw. Smooth Sponge gourds are crunchy and mild, similar to the texture and taste of zucchini.
Smooth Sponge gourds are available year-round, with peak season late fall.
Smooth Sponge gourds, botanically classified as Luffa cylindrical var. aegyptiaca, are members of the Cucurbitaceae family along with cucumbers. Also known as the Smooth Luffa, Climbing Okra, Dishrag gourd, Chinese okra, Vegetable Sponge gourd, Dhundul, Gilki, and Hechima, green Smooth Sponge gourds are the fruits of fast-growing climbing vines that thrive in humid, tropical climates and are commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. There are several varieties of sponge gourd including Edible Ace, Hybrid Green Glory, Smooth Beauty, and Hybrid Jupiter. In addition to consumption, fully ripe and dried out Smooth Sponge gourds are popularly used to make loofas or exfoliating sponges.
Smooth Sponge gourds contain dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, and zinc.
Smooth Sponge gourds can be used in both raw and cooked applications, but they must be green and young to be used for culinary preparations. They can be sliced or chopped and used raw in salads and dips. To cook, Smooth Sponge gourds can be boiled, steamed, or sautéed and used in stir-fries, soups, and curries. Smooth Sponge gourds will readily absorb the flavor of spices or seasonings and are used in dishes as a thickening agent. Smooth Sponge gourds pair well with sesame oil, garlic, green chilies, coriander, dried shrimp or fish, crushed peanuts, beans, rice, and potatoes. Smooth Sponge gourd will keep up to five days when stored in the refrigerator.
Smooth Sponge gourds, known as gilki in India, are widely available across the country and the fruit, leaves, and seeds are used in traditional medicine. The leaves are used to treat swellings and intestinal worms. The fruit is also used to treat headaches, skin problems, and to expel intestinal parasites. In India, Smooth Sponge gourds are considered healthy vegetables that have cleansing properties and are easy to digest. They are commonly found in traditional vegetarian curries such as Turai ki sabzi.
Smooth Sponge gourds are believed to be native to Asia and have since been naturalized in tropical regions of Africa and the Pacific Islands. Today, Smooth Sponge gourds can be found at local markets and specialty grocers in Southeast Asia, India, Vietnam, China, the Pacific Islands, and Africa.
Recipes that include Smooth Sponge Gourd. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Vegibites||Sponge Gourd Curry|