Your Bathing Sponge Is Actually Made From This Vegetable
Image Credit: Photo: New Leaf Nurseries

While we have been calling it several names such as ridge gourd, toraighiurachokha and what not, you wouldn't believe that ridge gourd is the same vegetable that can be grown to full maturity and be used as a bathing sponge. Yes, we’re talking about ridge gourd. You didn’t see that coming, did you? 

You may have heard about the debates where ridge gourd is often compared with zucchini or cucumber due to similar appearances and flavour. But rarely would you have heard of loofah while talking about ridge gourd or luffa. Yes, that's the other name for ridge gourd. 

Across Asia, in countries such as India, China and Vietnam, luffa is eaten as a vegetable when it is harvested at a young stage. It is edible at this time. In West Bengal, for instance, luffa is cooked with shrimp and other seafood while in Tamil Nadu, the white spongy flesh of the gourd is used to make poriyal. People may also make fritters out of luffa. 

Though we make use of the name 'ridge gourd' in everyday language, the interesting fact about it is that if the vegetable is left to ripen and dried on the vine branch, it turns into a fruit. When the skin is peeled, you’ll be amazed to see that it only consists of a very fibrous skeleton and seeds. This is the loofah that we use to exfoliate and scrub our bodies. Who knew that a vegetable which we eat daily can be converted into a bathing sponge? Since it is 100% organic, loofah is the real deal. The other nylon sponges in the market are basically not loofahs. They are just sponges.  

The idea of using loofah is very ethical and eco-friendly. Hence, more people should consider making the switch to loofah, or should we say luffa? 

Photo: Wild Acres Flower Farm