BATON ROUGE, LA — You've seen them in body shops, drug stores and especially in bath tubs or showers all across the country. Where do those coarse stringy sponges really come from?
"They are so surprised though because they think all these sponges come out of the sea," says Celeste. That’s right, the loufa sponge, it’s a common misconception is that they come out of the ocean, well the truth is, you can grow them right in your backyard.
"Once you get them planted and they take root you don't have to worry that's it they just grow and grow and grow," says Celeste.
Celeste started growing loufas over ten years ago and now; it’s more than just a hobby. "When I grow them I give them to so many people I don't give everyone a whole one what I do is I cut it in half so I can give to two people and ill cut the end off and you can sue that as an exfoliate for there face."
The loufa plant is classified as a fruit but looks like a vegetable and actually and grows on a vine. “My fence it goes 3 yards long and this was only 2 plants and it covered the 3 fences and then was growing up my fig tree."
And before this fruit is peeled and used as loufa sponge you can actually eat it. "You can eat this when it is very young, they say it's like zucchini and okra," says Celeste.
To make the loufa sponge all you do is plant the seeds, wait, then peel and clean them.
"I love to do it and its fun and when they are really dry you can shake them you can hear the seeds loose inside you would just beat it and the seeds come out."
And now loufa season has come to an end but Celeste still has a few hanging on before the last freeze.
"I like to pick them when they are light yellow and you can see all the seeds that are in here, after its dry then you shake them out, says Celeste. “I have some that have dark spots and I ill put them in light soapy bleach and it takes the stains out and of course you can’t use those seeds."
And Celeste says just dry them out after each use, and you'll never have to say good bye. "They last forever as long as you take care of them."
Celeste will start planting here seeds now so she will have loufas to give away all summer.