4 Easy Steps to Dry & Cure the Small Ornamental Gourds You Grew!

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Have you grown gourds this year in your garden, but now you're not sure what to do with them? This post is for you. There are so many ways you can dry or "cure" your gourds, but this is an easy way, especially if you're drying smaller varieties of gourds.  (Like these ones!)

Step 1: Pick them at the right time.

Pick your gourds when the stems start to turn brown and the leaves on your vine are all dead.  
Make sure you grab them before your first frost.  

Step 2: Prepare your fruit.

Wash your gourds in warm soapy water or in a water-vinegar bath in the sink.  Dry your gourds completely, and then wipe with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Make sure you discard any bruised or immature fruit.  They won't do anything but rot during the curing process.  Only use prime gourds for curing.

Step 3. (Loosely) Wrap your fruit.

 Take a small piece of newspaper or "junk mail" and loosely wrap it around each gourd.  You don't want to wrap them too tightly, because the key to drying gourds is good air circulation, and a warm, dry place.  The newspaper will help keep all of the gourds from rotting if one in the bunch starts to. It's also there to help keep bruising down.

For smaller gourds, like the ones pictured curing here, transporting them in a large rubber-maid container works great. The less you handle them the better. It will keep the chances of them bruising very low.

Step 4: Store your gourds to dry/cure.

Once you have all of your gourds wrapped in newspaper and carefully put into a container, place them in a dry, and well ventilated area. Some gourds can stink quite a bit during the curing process, so we don't recommend keeping them in the house.

Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as it tends to fade the colors and check often for any signs of decay among your curing gourds.  Remove any damaged gourds quickly, before it can spread to the others.  


Depending on the size of your gourds, the entire process of drying can take 1-6 months.   First, you'll notice that the outer skin will harden and the colors will begin to set.  This generally happens in the first few weeks.  The internal drying takes place next, which usually takes another 4 weeks.  


Once your gourds are dried you can use them for a number of projects.
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