An Indian farmer has gone viral with a photo of an enormous gourd that can be hollowed out and played like an instrument.
The oversized bottle gourd is from a variety called “Narendra Shivani,” grown by professor Sheo Pujan Singh.
Reddit/The Better India
Singh, a professor of Agriculture and Technology, has been called “Lauki Purush,” or “Bottle Gourd Man” for his famously large produce.
“My father was a primary school teacher, but a majority of the members of my family were farmers, so I was inclined towards it since childhood,” said Singh.
Singh was asked to do research on cucurbit veggies, including the bottle gourds that he came to be known for, in the 1980s. At the time, Singh said, bottle gourds were underappreciated.
“Bottle gourd was considered less valuable 30 to 40 years back because [its taste wasn’t popular] and the research on this crop was literally forced on me,” recalled Singh. “But I took it up as a challenge. I wanted to develop something unique in this crop which would make it popular and important.”
In response to the challenge, Singh developed a cold-tolerant variety of bottle gourd that could be grown year round, as well as another type that was tastier when cooked. He found out about a farmer whose bottle gourds were unusually large, and obtained seeds that became the basis for the enormous Navendra Shivani gourds.
A farmer grew one of these gourds to 8.2 feet long, and a photo of the gargantuan veggie lit up Indian social media.
The gourd isn’t just a novelty, either – bottle gourds are reported to have significant health benefits. In juiced form, the gourds can provide fiber to help with weight loss, along with potassium, folate, iron, manganese, and vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. It’s also healthy for your heart and can aid in reducing high blood pressure.
In addition to its culinary value, Singh has also touted the use of dried, hollowed out Navendra Shivani bottle gourds as wind instruments.
“People ask me that what is the use of Narendra Shivani as no one is going to buy such a huge bottle gourd, but I believe that this can be an entirely separate market, and farmers can make extra money in this way. Playing an instrument made of this vegetable is good for your lungs as well,” said Singh.
In a video, Singh demonstrated the gourd’s musical use, playing a single, extended note.
Cook With Gourds!
Even if you can’t get one of Professor Singh’s giant gourds, you can still get all of the great health benefits of cooking with gourds at home. Try some of these gourd recipes from the Food Monster App!
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Lead Image Source: The Better India