Curing Your Gourd
Calabaza gourds are the most traditional Mate vessels. If cared for properly, they will last for many Mates. We recommend curing your gourd before use in order to prevent mould and splitting. To cure your gourd:
Fill about 2/3 of your gourd with Mate. If you are already a Mate drinker, you can use your previous day’s Mate to prevent wastage.
Pour in hot water until your gourd is full. Do not use boiling water as this could split your gourd.
Leave your gourd to sit for 24 hours.
Empty your gourd and gently scrape out some of the loose pulp from the walls using a spoon.
Rinse your gourd with hot water, dab the inside with a paper towel and leave to dry in a fairly warm, dry place (preferably in direct sunlight).
Your gourd is now ready to use!
NB. A traditional method of curing a gourd uses wood ash as a natural and effective disinfectant. If you have access to ash (from a log burner for example) you can follow the steps above using an equal mix of ash and Mate.
Things to remember:
Repeat steps 4 and 5 after each use
There is a greater risk of mould if you do not allow your gourd to dry after each use. After the first few uses, you will not need to scrape out any more pulp as the walls of the gourd will become smoother and harder over time.
Green spots do not mean mould
The walls of your gourd will naturally be stained blotchy green by the Mate. Over time your gourd will become infused with its own unique flavour, depending on the Mate you use. If the walls becomes furry, however, you do have mould.
Mould does not mean you should bin your gourd
Although most mould that grows in your gourd will not do you much harm, you can and should get rid of it if you find it. A natural way of doing this is to fill you gourd with hot water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Leave it to sit for half an hour, then empty it and gently scrape away any mould from the walls with a spoon. Dab the gourd dry with a paper towel and leave it to dry. Repeat if necessary. If possible, dry your gourd in direct sunlight, as sunlight kills mould.
Curing your gourd takes time
Although the steps above are commonly referred to as curing, the actual curing process happens over weeks of use. If cleaned and dried after each use, the inside of your gourd will gradually become smooth and hard. A well-cured gourd like this will last you a long time.