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A gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae. The term refers to a number of species and subspecies, many with hard shells. Likely one of the earliest domesticated types of plants, subspecies of the bottle gourd have been discovered in archaeological sites streching back to as early as 13,000 BC. Today, research is being conducted into bitter gourds to reduce the unpleasant taste while keeping the nutritional and medicinal benefits. 

Gourd is occasionally used to describe crops like pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, luffa, and melons. The term gourd, however, can more specifically refer to the plants of the two Cucurbitaceae genera Lagenaria and Cucurbita,or also to their hollow, dried-out shell. A gourd can also have a hard shell when dehydrated. The best time to plant a gourd is very late spring to early summer and will grow very richly if in warm climate.

Scientists in India have been working on crossbreeding six members of the bitter gourd genus found in the country to reduce the unpleasant taste while retaining the nutritional and medicinal values of the plants. These include Teasle gourd, Spine gourd, Sweet gourd, balsam apple.

Cultures from arid regions often associated gourds with water, and they appear in many creation myths. Since the beginning of their history, they have had a multitude of uses, including food, kitchen tools, toys, musical instruments and decoration. Today, gourds are commonly used for a wide variety of crafts, including jewelry, furniture, dishes, utensils and a wide variety of decorations using carving, burning and other techniques.

The Chinese developed a technique of a tying two-part mould round young gourds, or a part of them, so that the gourd grew into the mould and took its shape. Shaped gourds had various decorative uses, especially as boxes, bottles and other containers.

Health benefits of 

It’s low in fat and full of dietary fiber, which keeps you feeling full and may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The bright orange color signals that butternut squash is packed with carotenoids, nutrients that help prevent against heart disease, says Elisa Zied, R.D., a dietician in New York City.

A one-cup serving packs nearly half of your daily dose of vitamin C.

Read More at Wikipedia
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