Sponge gourd is a vine belonging to the cucumber family and is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is also popularly known as luffa (or loofah) because its fruit, when fully matured, becomes very fibrous and is used for scrubbing and cleaning purposes. However, when harvested at a young stage, the fruit is edible and makes for great soups and sabzis. It requires a warm climate and lots of water to grow, and is best cultivated in the months from March to August. The fruit can be expected in 2 months from sowing. It is a rich source of potassium, and vitamins A and C. Like all cucurbits, luffa flowers require to be pollinated. Since balconies and terraces don't naturally have bees for natural pollination, it needs to be done manually by hand. Plucking should be done when the flower is still attached and the fruit is very tender. Sponge gourds are used extensively in Indian cuisine as well as in dishes from our southeast Asian neighbours. Our favourite way of cooking them is to make luffa ki sabzi stuffed with onion and tomato puree with phulkas; what's yours?
% of Daily Recommended Dietary Allowance satisfied by 100g of raw produce.