What are Gourds?
A “gourd” is the fruit of certain plants in the family Cucurbitaceae, these plants are divided amongst the Lagenaria and Cucurbita genera. Lagenaria gourds are the large, “hardshell” variety whilst those belonging to Cucurbita are the small, (often brightly coloured) ornamental types typically found in the autumn at pumpkin farms and fall fairs.
The larger, hardshell gourds of Lagenaria are harvested after the first hard frost and dried outdoors over winter. In spring they are collected and cleaned, ready for crafting. While the smaller Cucurbita gourds can be crafted, they are often picked too soon and either rot before they finish drying properly, or their dried shells are too thin for crafting.