Going Gaga for Gourds | Let’s Hear It For the Squash

Ok I am making a confession – I seriously LOVE all gourds in particular the squash varietal! Gourds are typically defined as “any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for decoration and not for eating” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Squash is “any of various fruits of plants (genus Cucurbita) of the gourd family widely cultivated as vegetables” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This time of year is my favorite because not only do we get to decorate with gourds but there are plenty to eat and use creatively. Not only are these plants nutritious for you but are so easy to use in different crafts for kids. Listed below you will find why I love these fruits and I hope you will have a newfound appreciation for them as well.

Growing – I have found that growing gourds is one of the easiest things I have been able to grow. Yes they are prone to bugs and need to be pruned regularly – but it is very rare that I can’t get a single seed to grow. Also they grow in almost every growing zone. Listed below you will find several links to help you grow gourds in your region. And remember as I have talked about in other blog posts – growing is trial and error. You wouldn’t lose anything by trying.

Nutrition – Squash and gourds are extremely good for you. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and other health benefits as well helping the immune system and cardiovascular health. They are typically extremely low in calories, sugar, and fat content as well. Listed below you will find some nutritional information on different types of gourds and squash.

Traditional Uses – Gourds were used for all kinds of things in ancient times. They have been used for decorative or ritual pieces, bowls, or a part of nutrition. Especially in the Americas, gourds played a huge role. I was privileged enough to work on an archeological dig in Peru where we found several decorative gourd bowls, some of which people were buried alongside of them. Gourds are one of the oldest domesticated plants so it is no wonder that they have found their way into so many societies. Listed below you will find several article discussing traditional uses for gourds.

Crafts – There are so many crafts you can do with gourds – as evidenced by the ancient peoples in the previous links. The obvious that many people already do is pumpkin carving and painting. But why stop at pumpkins! They also can make great stamps or even bird houses. Really, the opportunities are endless for the creativity with gourds. Here are some great links to crafts you can complete with your littles.

  • Gourd Stamping – Note I like to use the top cross section of Acorn Squash because it looks like flowers!

Decorations – Well since it IS autumn you will definitely need to create some awesome centerpieces, wreaths, and other decorative items with some gourds. Especially because you can literally leave these decorations out from September harvest, Halloween, and thru Thanksgiving. Listed below you will find some great links for tips about decorating with gourds!

Colorful Gourds and Pumpkins

  • 30 Gorgeous Fall Wreaths – Now this one doesn’t include a TON of gourd ideas but the ones they do include I think are stunning

I love DIY fall wreaths and this neutral one is so beautiful!

Recipes – Now what would fall be without those fall flavors. And in all reality, gourds do not need to be eaten just in the fall. Many are eaten in the summer as well – which include zucchini and watermelon. But since we are in fall many more people are eating squash. Here is a great list of how to prepare different types of squash for great food and flavor year round.

Chickpea, Spinach & Squash Gnocchi

Silky Pappardelle with Zucchini Ribbons

Melon with Yogurt and Pistachio-Sesame Brittle

So as you can see gourds and not just important to me but to many other people throughout history and our society. They can be grown, eaten, crafted, used for ritual, or as décor. They are great for so many things!! I especially love this time of year because I am not the only one who seems to have developed a gourd obsession. So let’s all take time and be thankful for these gourds that are so important to our lives and history. And what better way to thank a gourd then by eating or crafting with one! So go ahead and get busy – I know I will be!

 

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

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6 thoughts on “Going Gaga for Gourds | Let’s Hear It For the Squash

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