NO, I’m not suggesting vegans can eat chinchillas! Whaddayou, CRAZY?
Our #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, has a chinchilla named Dasha, and bought her a box of goodies, including a loofah to chew on. So I decided to dig out this column I wrote for the World Wide Recipes ezine about loofahs as actual people food.
Yes, I’m talking about the scrubber you use in the bath. Some may know and some may not: the loofah is a vegetable.
They probably originated in the Nile Valley, where they were grown as food. I planted some, one year. They grow on vine-like plants. The fruits look something like zucchini, long, thin and green, and are said to have a flavor similar to zucchini.
Although I have a recipe for loofah and eggplant ratatouille, I didn’t eat my loofahs. Like most people who grow them, I let them mature. Then I skinned them, shook out the seeds, and let the loofahs dry into bath scrubbers. How cool is that?
Loofah and Eggplant Ratatouille
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
1 pound young loofahs
1 large red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
8 ounces shallots, peeled
2 tsp ground coriander
4 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
a few cilantro leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the eggplant into thick chunks and sprinkle with salt. Set aside in a colander for 45 minutes, then rinse well under cold running water and pat dry. Preheat oven to 425 F Slice the loofahs into 3/4-inch pieces. Place eggplant, loofah, pepper, tomatoes and shallots in roasting pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with ground coriander and olive oil. Scatter the chopped garlic and cilantro leaves on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the loofah is golden brown and peppers are beginning to char.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character eats something considered inedible by someone else. Not blood, Jane. And no zombies need apply.