Are Gourds Edible is a question that arises from people that have noticed so many uses for the shell of this fruit or vegetable. Some people do refer to gourds as fruit while others a vegetable. The main reason for the disparity might arise from the fact that some gourds are vine plants and are considered vegetables. There are others that grow on trees like the calabash does. There are even those that claim the gourds are grown as fruits but consumed as vegetables.
A majority of the types of gourds that can be found around the world are edibles when they are young. As most gourds mature in age, they change chemically and many become sour and bitter to the taste. There are exceptions to this rule as with the edible squashes and zucchinis along with pumpkins. It is also common for the gourds that experience a drought type of season or not enough water to have a harder skin, larger seeds and an increased bitter taste than those that receive ample enough water during the growing season.
The area of the world with the highest number in varieties of edible gourds seems to be South East Asian. The people of China, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines all eat gourds in their diets.
The most common type of gourds that are not edible is the ones grow for oriental purposes. These are the smaller ones that have been widest variety of colors in them and have the pimples and bumps that adorn the shell.
The average growing time for a gourd that is grown on a vine is 3 to 4 months. As stated earlier, if you plan to use your gourds for decorative or ornamental purposes, a reduction in water will help you to achieve gourds with thicker outside layers. This will allow for the gourd art to last longer. This also gives artists a thicker foundation to work with so deeper and more detailed carvings into the gourds skin layer can be achieved.
If your plant has a gourd on the vine and you have decided to leave it there, then no more will generally grow on that vine. This is part of the nature of gourds. If you are growing gourds, you should harvest them at regular intervals. This sends a signal to the plant that is should produce another gourd. As long as the vine is watered and there is ample fertilization in the soil, the vine should be productive. If you live in a seasonal climate, the first frost will end the growing season of your gourds.
Unlike other vegetables and fruits, the gourds are not very perishable. As long as the stem is intact, they can remain fresh and edible without refrigeration for months after they are harvested. The outside surface cannot be cut or damaged either so the inside edible portion is not exposed to the air.
This should answer most questions about are gourds edible and how to grow gourds for decorative purposes. It all really depends on the species of gourds you are referring to, but most are edible.
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