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Gourd – what is it and how is it made?

2020-08-21
Gourd – what is it and how is it made?

Every yerba mate fan knows that a solid mate gourd is a key when it comes to comfortably enjoying favourite drink. Pioneers had no ceramic dishes, so they had to find another way. They were making vessels using gourds, plants similar to pumpkins. Why was it useful as a mate gourd and how did they make it?

Gourd – what is it?

A gourd is a vine belonging to a cucurbit family. It’s native to the subtropical zone and climate. In natural conditions, this plant may reach the height even up to 10 meters. Its vines wrap around the trees, shrubs and even buildings. Gourds sometimes may also be called bottle gourds or calabashes. Some types are edible but thanks to their very hard shells they are being used in many different ways. For example, properly prepared clabash may become an instrument, a vessel or, what is the most important for us, a mate gourd.

How do they make gourds?

A ripe calabash has the shape of big, elongated pear. While preapring a mate gourd, the soft flesh and seeds have to be removed. After that, the inside of the calabash needs to be dried and preserved with some greasy substance, e.g. oil. Gourds prepared in this way may be used as a dish for food or water and, thanks to its specific shape, a gourd for mate tea. It allows you to comfortably create a little mound of yerba mate inside the vessel. As it was mentioned, some people use gourds to make musical instruments. Good examples are a Guatemalan marimba or Cuban guiro.

Yerba mate gourds now

Mate gourds made of calabashes has been made and used for a very long time - still many residents of South America choose exactly this kind of gourds. It’s definitely the most traditional and classic way to prepare yerba mate. However, because of comfort of use and easy cleaning, ceramic gourds has been gaining more and more popularity. People started to make and use them only in colonial period. Their shape is extremely similar to the real calabash, what makes brewing of yerba mate infusions easier. In our shop apart from the ceramic gourds you can buy also wooden and metal mate gourds, palo santo and glass gourds as well as guampas. Choose the one that fits your preferences the most!

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