In South America, the calabash gourd is traditionally used to prepare and drink mate. It is a type of squash that has been dried, hollowed out, and then held over a flame to turn brown. This gourd has not been colored artificially.
This mate calabash gourd was made by hand in Argentina. The shape and color of the gourd can vary from one to the next.
This gourd may have a slight smoky odor that will fade with time.
Before using the gourd for the first time, it must be cured to remove any residue, seeds and dust. There are three steps in the curing process:
- Fill the gourd two-thirds full with yerba mate leaves and top up with water that has been heated to a simmer (80°C).
- Place the gourd in a recipient and leave for 24 hours. Add more water as necessary as the gourd will soak up some of the water.
2. Scraping out
- Tip out the yerba mate leaves and water.
- Using a small spoon, scrape the inside of the gourd to remove any residue, taking care not to damage the central stem so that your gourd remains watertight.
- Rinse the gourd with cold water.
- Turn the gourd over and leave to dry on a drainer at room temperature.
1. Fill the gourd half-full with yerba mate leaves. Hold your hand over the opening and turn the gourd upside down to release any leaf dust.
2. Tilt the gourd slightly to move the leaves to one side. Straighten the gourd again, taking care to keep the mate leaves to one side, then insert the bombilla straw.
3. Carefully pour in 200 ml water heated to 80°C maximum. The mate is ready to drink through the bombilla when it starts to cool.
4. You can add more water to the same leaves as many times as you like. Mate is drunk in repeated infusions.
To protect your gourd, make sure you empty it and rinse it with warm water after each use. Leave it to dry upside down.