Though the common misconception is that loofahs come from the sea - otherwise spelled luffas, loufas or loofas - in actuality, your much-favored, fibrous bath sponge comes from a cucumber-like gourd that can be grown and harvested in your very own backyard, producing some seriously glowing skin.
Growing your own loofah, while not particularly laborious, will take a decent amount of time, 140-180 days to put a number to it. Thus, patience will be your virtue of choice. But one harvest could supply you and your loved ones with the perfect tool to exfoliate for years to come. Begin by visiting LocalHarvest.org to purchase your seeds from a myriad of supplying farmers, and then plant them according to their instructions.
Fast forward to that 140-180 days later, and you are ready to select your loofah from the vine. You know it's ready when the color starts to shift away from dark green and it becomes lighter in weight, and the skin feels loose and thin. If the gourd feels like you could peel it easily, it's probably true.
After twisting your loofah off the vine comes the peeling. First knock off the tip, and many of the seeds will fall out. Use your thumbs to create a tear along a loose spot of one of the seams and begin your peel. If the loofah is fully ripe it will come off easily. If not, then some pounding, kneading and fingernail digging may be necessary. Ultimately, you'll find your preferred method of peeling that loofah.
Now it's time to hose off your sponge thoroughly, removing all the sap and leftover seeds, subsequently squeezing and shaking out all the excess water. Then, let the sun finish the job for you by drying out your loofah and lightening its color. Also, you can customize the texture, as the longer you leave a loofah in the sun, the rougher its texture will become. Hence, if you're looking to lift grease off your pots and pans, you might consider an extended sun bath for your loofah.
And Voila!. Each day as you slough off dead skin cells you will be rewarded for your eco endeavor.
image: Steve Johnson