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Currado – how to prepare a yerba mate gourd?

Currado – how to prepare a yerba mate gourd?

There are some yerba mate vessels that definitely stand out from the rest. A mate gourd made of palo santo or algarrobo wood stands proudly on the shelf in the company of natural and ceramic calabashes. The real secret of their beauty is that they are cared for. What is a curado (or currado) and how do you take care of a yerba mate vessel? Read on!


  1. How to drink yerba mate?
  2. How to make a currado of yerba mate gourd?
  3. Natural calabash currado
  4. Curado of palo santo for yerba mate
  5. Curado of ceramic calabash
  6. How to care for the calabash after the currado?

How to drink yerba mate?

Yerba mate is a magical drink, and to add to the aura of mystery, you need to drink it in the right vessel. Mate gourds are made from a variety of materials. Those made of ceramic are the most popular – they are comfortable to use and easy to maintain. However, they are no comparison to vessels made of natural materials. The most traditional are mate gourds made from the hollow and dried fruit of the calabash. On the other hand, pots made of wood (for example, palo santo) have wonderful properties.

How to make a currado of yerba mate gourd?

Before using a yerba mate vessel for the first time, regardless of the material, it is worth preparing and preserving it properly. This is especially important for mat gourds made of organic materials, but also ceramic calabashes should be prepared before the first use. The process of preparing and preserving a yerba mate vessel is called curado (sometimes the name currado is also used). This is a Spanish word for something that has been specially treated to make it harder and more resistant. This is what curado is all about – strengthening the yerba mate drinking vessel, hardening it and making it more resistant to the elements. This process is carried out once. In the following text, we will explain how to carry out a currado step by step.

Natural calabash currado

Calabash fruit is the specific material used to make yerba mate drinking vessels. Resembling a pumpkin, the fruit grows quickly, reaching up to 80 centimetres in length and 20 centimetres in width. When it dries out, its exterior becomes a thick, hard shell, while its interior remains hollow. The woody shell of the calabash or calebasa find many uses, one of which is actually a yerba mate drinking vessel. However, in order for a natural calabash to perform its function well, it needs to be prepared well.

How to prepare a calabash for drinking yerba mate?

Calabaza is a real, natural fruit. Freshly after buying a vessel made from calabaza, you may find dried particles of pulp inside, which need to be removed before preparing and drinking yerba mate for the first time. The pulp from the calabaza fruit can add unpleasant bitterness to yerba mate or cause digestive difficulties. The currado of the calabash vessel is therefore primarily aimed at removing the pulp and smoothing the walls of the vessel. How to prepare the calabash for yerba mate? It is not difficult, but it is somewhat time-consuming. Just pour dried yerba mate into the calabash – 1/4 to 3/4 of the volume of the vessel or fill it with used yerba and pour water at a temperature of about 75-80 °C. Do not drink this brew! There may be some remnants of the calabash fruit in it, which will be bitter and unpleasant to taste. Set the water-soaked dried fruit aside for about 12-24 hours, preferably overnight. After this time, remove any remaining yerba mate from the calabash and scrape the walls of the container of the remaining fruit (pulp and seeds). It is best to do this with a spoon (either a regular spoon or a special one for dribbling fruit) or simply a bombilla. Remember to do this carefully – so as not to perforate the walls of the calabash or destroy the metal ferrule. Also be careful not to puncture the inner "tail" of the calabash, or the vessel will leak. Then repeat the procedure with the dried material, and afterwards rinse the calabash with cold water and leave it to dry – with the spout facing upwards. Your mate gourd is ready! Not only it is very light and handy, it really looks great on the shelf. Natural brew in a natural gourd is the essence of yerba mate.

Preparing the calabash for yerba mate – the curado process in short:

  1. Fill the calabash with dried yerba mate – about 1/4-3/4 of the volume.
  2. Pour in hot water – about 75-80 °C.
  3. Set the calabash aside for about 12-24 hours.
  4. Empty the calabash of the damp dried product.
  5. Scrape out any remaining pulp and seeds with a spoon – do this thoroughly but carefully.
  6. Repeat points 1-2 of the curado process. Set the calabash aside with the water-soaked drought, but for a shorter period this time.
  7. Rinse the calabash with cold water.
  8. Set the calabash aside to dry – with the outlet facing upwards.

Curado of palo santo for yerba mate

Mate gourds made from palo santo or algarrobo wood are unique and one-of-a-kind. They have unusual properties – the aromatic resin that flows in the wood gives its flavour and aroma to the infusion that is in the vessel. Like the calabash fruit, wood is an organic material and needs to be properly cared for in order for a vessel made from it to last as long as possible. Mate gourd made from palo santo wood needs to be properly impregnated before it is used for the first time. The "sacred wood" will return the favour with its magic.

How to prepare a mate gourd made of wood – palo santo or algarrobo?

In the case of vessels made from palo santo or algarrobo wood, the main purpose of the curado is to strengthen the walls. How do you prepare them? Some people think that a mate gourd made of palo santo is enough to rinse it and it can already be used, but proper preparation is important – unprotected wood can crack and leak very easily. Curado is particularly important for unforged yerba mate vessels. Cracks will cause liquids to spill out. How to prepare a vessel made of palo santo wood? Before using it for the first time, rinse the mate gourd thoroughly with cold water to get rid of any wood shavings and leave it to dry. Then carefully grease the walls with good quality olive oil or coconut oil, trying to rub the grease thoroughly into the wood. Leave the mate gourd for about 1-2 days to allow the fat to absorb well – this way it will protect the wonderful wood from drying out. After this time, rub the fat that has collected inside the vessel back into the walls using a cloth or paper towel. You can repeat the process 2-3 times for better results. Once the fat has been absorbed, rinse the vessel with warm water and leave it to dry. A yerba mate mate gourd prepared in this way will last longer and be more resistant to external factors.

Curado of wood mate gourds in short:

  1. Rinse the vessel with cold water getting rid of any remaining wood shavings and leave to dry thoroughly.
  2. Grease the walls of the matero with olive oil.
  3. Set the mate gourd aside for about 1-2 days so that the fat is well absorbed.
  4. Rub the grease that has collected on the bottom of the dish into the walls again – using a cloth or paper towel.
  5. You can repeat points 2-4 of the curado process for better results.
  6. Rinse the vessel with warm water and allow to dry thoroughly.

Curado of ceramic calabash

The most practical choice among all types of mate gourds is the ceramic calabash. It is convenient to use, easy to wash and requires no special care – it is like a regular ceramic cup. However, it is also worth carrying out a curado in this case. The ceramic currado will be the easiest. You can simply scald the ceramic calabash with hot water before using it for the first time, and wash it with water and washing-up liquid after the whole procedure. Done!

How to care for the calabash after the curado?

Curado is only the beginning of caring for a vessel. Regardless of the material used to make it, each container must be cared for properly. The most important rule is not to leave any leftover yerba mate for too long, as the moisture can rot and give the vessel an unpleasant taste. While a ceramic mate gourd can be washed thoroughly with detergent after such an incident, a rotten container made of organic material is unlikely to be usable. Mate gourds made of natural calabash need to be thoroughly dried after each use – preferably with the spout facing upwards. Wooden gourd, on the other hand, should always be kept slightly moist – over-dried palo santo can easily break. A well "welcomed" vessel will return the favour by enhancing the wonderful qualities of yerba mate. Beautiful, useful, even enhancing the taste and aroma in the case of palo santo and algarrobo. It's all up to you. Curado is a kind of "christening" of a vessel with a soul.

Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia.
  2. Wikitionary.


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