Preserve decorative gourds by first washing them in bleach water and wiping them dry or wiping them with bleach disinfecting cloths to prevent mold. Cure the gourds in a warm room for 10 days to six months, depending on the type, taking care to maintain good air circulation.
You can preserve decorative gourds whether you harvest them fresh or buy them at the grocery store. Once you select gourds to preserve, wash them in a weak bleach solution. You can also use disinfecting wipes that contain bleach to clean the rinds and prevent mold. Make sure to wipe the gourds dry immediately.
Cure gourds in a warm room with good air circulation. Use a fan to promote drying, and position the gourds well away from walls and each other in a single layer on tables or the floor covered with newspaper. Keep the drying gourds shaded, and turn them every few days to promote even drying. You may also need to replace the newspaper as the rinds dry.
Different sizes of gourds have different drying times. For example, a large gourd may take six months or longer to dry, while small gourds may take two to three weeks. When you shake a gourd and hear seeds rattling, it’s cured completely.
To further preserve gourds, polish the rinds with paste wax for a glossy finish, or paint them with varnish. Other decorative finishes such as paints also help seal and preserve dried gourds.