Gourds are members of the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes. Gourds have thicker, harder skins than their more popular cousins and are used primarily for decoration in America. Hard, dry gourds are often used to make containers or utensils. Some varieties are edible when very young and small. Thai bottle gourds and Italian cucuzzi are grown specifically for eating. They are used in much the same ways as zucchini and other summer squash.
Things You'll Need
Select gourds that are young and glossy, with no visible damage or bruising. If you are not using a variety grown for eating, select very small gourds, no longer than your finger.
Slice the gourds into strips, and add them to your favorite stir-fry as if they were zucchini or any other summer squash.
Cut the gourds in half, and scoop out a cavity in the middle. Fill it with seasoned rice or ground meat, and bake the stuffed squash at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until soft.
Shred the gourds for use in baking, or add flour and eggs to make patties for frying.
Bread long, diagonal slices of Italian cucuzzi gourd, and fry them in olive oil. Serve with cheese and a spoonful of tomato sauce.
As edible gourds mature, the skins may harden and become unpleasant to eat. Simply peel the skins away before preparing the flesh of the gourd.
Not all gourds are edible, and some are poorly flavored, even when young. Consult your local gardening center or university extension service if you are uncertain.