Category Archives: Luffa

Hurricanes and Vacations don’t mix well but …

What do you do when you’re thousands of miles away from home, on vacation, and you read on the internet that a category 3 hurricane, with a possibility of getting to 4, is heading towards your home? 😮
There wasn’t much I could do really, and to make matters worse, the closer Hurricane Matthew headed towards Florida the likelier was the possibility that my humble abode was about to get hit by the eye. So there I was along the shores of Lake MacQuarie in sunny Australian Spring weather listening to CNN live weather report wondering if I would  have a house to go back to.

My consolation was just knowing I would not be in the way of Matthew’s sadistic whirlwind delirium. (Having been through Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Wilma, trust me, I know what hurricanes can do.) After consolation, came relief ~ he decided to blow at 68 mph instead of over 100mph as he had done over Haiti.

Today, upon my return … ah yes, the house is still standing.
Upon closer inspection, *relief* there are no leak marks.
And the garden cum food forest?

mess

A living 3-week old mess!

Mother Nature's mulch supply.

Mother Nature’s mulch supply.

Some lived; some died.

Some lived; some died.

Some actually coming back to life!

Some actually coming back to life!

Tidying up needed, but not too bad.

Tidying up needed, but not too bad.

We had to save the doors but left the plants to Ma Nature.

We had to save the patio doors but left the plants to Ma Nature.

BUT … it’s not been a total tragedy ~ perhaps a nudge to rethink and redo, to work with Mother Nature and the changes she brings forth. It’s also eye-opening when I see and learn new things such as …

The hive survived! even though the vegetation around got demolished.

The hive survived!
even though the vegetation around it got demolished.

... and the bees are hurricane tolerant.

… and the bees are hurricane tolerant.

The trellis collapsed but not the Passiflora vine.

The trellis collapsed but not the Passiflora vine.

They are actually bearing fruit!

They are actually bearing fruit!

lots of fruit!

lots of fruit!

Even the Cassava (which I call Ubi Kayu) is calling out ~ “cut me, I’m ready for harvest!”

Nice and ready.

Nice and ready.

But tomorrow ~ stir fried Angled Gourd ( 絲瓜) with eggs and garlic for lunch!

Dead vine but edible gourd.

Dead vine but edible gourd.

Life goes on …

The Luffas are a-coming …

Sometimes spelt Loofah and most famous as Body Scrubbing Sponge ~ I spell it as Luffa  (广东丝瓜) and I grow it basically for some winter food.  My earlier post Yes, I Eat Luffa, shows what this vine is capable of.

But this morning, looking at the flowers, I thought I’d share its beauty and how my gardening assistants love them too.

Full bloom in the morning.

Full bloom in the morning.

The female flower, ready for pollination.

The female flower, ready for pollination.

A gardening assistant ~ hard at work...

A gardening assistant ~ hard at work…

1 already pollinated & 1 screaming to be pollinated.

1 already pollinated & 1 screaming to be pollinated.

Many a time when we buy our food from the supermarket or even farmers’ market, we just take it for granted that food is grown for soil.  However when one actually grows food naturally, one gets to appreciate their beauty in the process of their formation. Mother Nature does create Wonders.

Yes, I eat Luffa!!

In the US, almost everyone I know (except vegetable gardeners) relate the word Luffa, sometimes spelt Loofah, to a type body scrubbing sponge you get from the store. Yes, I allow some of my Luffa Gourds (广东丝瓜 pronounced Guangtung Xi Gua) to age & turn to sponge & these sponges really do get rid of dead cells & dirt!

Body scrubbing body sponge... with a couple of seeds still stuck on them.

Body scrubbing sponge… with a couple of seeds still stuck on them.

The plant is a vine of the Cucurbitales family and if allowed to hang on the vine till the pulp turns grainy & the sap dries up, what sits in the “shell” is a sponge.

I grow my Luffa plants almost randomly, yes, I throw seeds close to trellises, arbors and palm trees. If they like the microclimate there, they germinate & grow, with supports standing by for them ~ almost like planned gourd seed dispersal.

Luffa Gourd window deco

Luffa Gourd window deco

They grow happily & this one does look kind of cute hanging by the dining room window. I would harvest 8 out of 10 young green ones for food ~ ensuring they are heavy with sap & the skin is still soft.

Still green and heavy ~ ready for the pot!

Still green and heavy ~ ready for the pot!

 

The simplest dish is to saute diced garlic in sesame oil till fragrant. Add peeled & sliced young Luffa into the pan, stir fry till cooked (about 2 mins) then add a beaten egg into the pan. A dash of light soy sauce & pepper … stir till eggs are done & there you have it.

I call this my version of Luffa Fu Yong.
I call this my version of Luffa Fu Yong.