WHOLE LOOFAHContact us
- Small: below 20cm
- Medium: 21-24cm
- Large: above 25cm
Moisture: completely dried under the sun (below 3%)
Seeds and outer skin are removed.
When the fruit is fully ripened, it is very fibrous. The fully developed fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge which is used in bathrooms and kitchens. Luffa are not frost-hardy, and require 150 to 200 warm days to mature. If the dried loofah is allowed to fully ripen and then dried on the vine, the flesh disappears leaving only the fibrous skeleton and seeds, which can be easily shaken out. Marketed as luffa or loofah, the sponge is used as a body scrub.
The first step is to select a loofah that is ready to be peeled. Luffa pods lose the dark green color and become lighter in weight when ready. Some varieties go from green to dark brown. Some types turn a yellow or light brown color. The photos show two different varieties. Sometimes just being a lighter green signals ripeness. The skin feels loose and thinner when they are ready to pick. If it feels like it can be peeled easily then it is ready.
The loofah sponges can be removed by twisting until the vine breaks. If the vine is still alive it may be desirable to neatly cut the sponges off in order to minimize damage to the vine.
Slamming the luffa pod against a hard surface will knock the skin and seeds loose. Slightly crushing the sponges can also loosen the skin. This is especially helpful for peeling less mature loofah with hard green skin. The skin will normally fall off easily if the loofah is fully mature.
The bottom tip of the luffa pod can be broken off and many seeds can be shaken out before peeling. Banging the loofah against the inside of a bucket is one way to get them out. Seeds can also be removed after peeling. Seeds should be allowed to dry for a day or two before storing so they don't get moldy. Luffa seeds have a thin clear layer on the outside that comes off after drying. Gently rub and blow off the seed coating outdoors. As soon as the seeds have dried, store in a cool place. Refrigerate or freeze in airtight containers for long term storage.
Use your thumbs to find a loose spot along a seam. Push in to create a tear and pull apart the skin. Tear up the seam. If the loofah is fully ripe it will come off easily. If not, then some slamming, crushing, and digging with fingernails may be needed. If peeling large numbers of loofahs it may be a good idea to wear gloves. The skin on your hands can become overly exfoliated and sore after peeling many. Getting the pods wet often makes peeling easier and will help the skin to separate. If your pods are dry and have hard or brittle skin then soaking in water for a few minutes will make it much easier to remove.
Peel the skin back off one end, usually the top, and pull off the other end. Do whatever works best for you. After peeling several you'll get a feel for the best method. Try to get all the skin off as little pieces left behind tend to turn brown.
Apply water pressure from a hose sprayer to remove most of the sap color. It washes out many seeds also. Washing with soapy water in a bucket and then spraying is another option. Squeeze and shake out excess water. If your luffa fiber is very dark, or has many dark spots, soaking in a bucket of water with some chlorine bleach will remove most stains. It doesn't take much bleach, maybe one cup for 3 to 5 gallons of water. Don't bleach any longer than needed. Rinse well. Most loofahs are good with no bleaching. This one was sprayed with water only and then dried.