Whether you want to dry out your gourds for decoration purposes or craft purposes, the process is actually quite simple. Large gourds are often more difficult to preserve, usually because they don't mature sufficiently and also because the drying takes much longer.
Things You'll Need
- White vinegar
- Paper towel
- Safety mask
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Floor wax (optional)
Choose a location away from your house (or other commonly traversed area) to dry out gourds. It's best to place the gourds in a well-ventilated room that is also dry, like a shed. It is very common for mold to grow on gourds as they dry out, so it's best to keep them a safe distance away from your home and out of reach for pets and children.
Place gourds in a single layer on a table or object that keeps them off of the ground to keep them insect free. If you place the gourds on the ground to dry, then they will likely become infested with insects and rodents may even create a home inside.
Wait for seven to nine days for the preliminary drying process. During this time, the outer shell of your gourds will dry out.
Move your gourds to a room that remains dark. This room should also be warm, airy and dry (like an attic, for example). Arrange them in one single layer; no gourd should be on top of another. Keep your gourds in this room for the final drying stage, which lasts anywhere from three to four weeks.
Mix 10 percent bleach, 5 percent white vinegar and 85 percent water into a bucket and dip in a paper towel or washcloth. Wipe the gourds with this solution. Do this every two to three days during the final drying stage to help prevent and remove unwanted mold. This is an especially important part of the gourd-drying process for larger gourds as they take longer to dry.
Rotate all gourds three to four times throughout this process, moving them from one side to the other. If you notice any crust forming, this is normal and it should not be removed yet.
Wash the gourds in warm water and scrub them with a steel wool scrubber after the final drying process is complete. You will know your gourds are finished drying when they feel much lighter and you can hear the seeds rattle inside when you shake them.
Sand the crust off the gourds, then polish them after washing. You can apply a paste floor wax to help preserve your gourds for a longer period of time.
Tips & Warnings
- If you place your gourds on newspapers, then make sure to replace those daily. This prevents excess mold from growing and allows for maximum drying.
- If you notice that a gourd has developed soft spots or has begun to shrivel, discard it.
- Wear a safety mask and gloves when dealing with gourds in case mold does grow. This will protect you from inhaling mold spores and keep your skin clean, as well. Always wash your hands after handling your gourds.
- Photo Credit Miguel Vera: www.flickr.com
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