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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

The Better India

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.

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“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!

Chickpea Flour Stuffed Bottle Gourd Curry

This Chickpea Flour Stuffed Bottle Gourd Curry by Anupama Paliwal is a great use for bottle gourd. With red chili powder and garam masala, this curry has just the right amount of spice.

Creamy Kabocha Butter

Here’s a Creamy Kabocha Butter recipe from Leah Moldowan that uses Japanese Kabocha to make a creamy spread perfect for crackers. Maple syrup and cinnamon add a sweet flavor to this tasty gourd!

Butternut Cashew Mac ’N Cheese

This Butternut Cashew Mac N’ Cheese by Kirsten Kaminsky is a tasty, unexpected use for butternut squash. It’s a great way to sneak some veggies into your child’s diet.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This simple version of classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Parsley Vegan combines creamy coconut milk with savory butternut squash. Maple syrup and ginger give subtle flavor notes to this soup!

Looking for more suprising uses for gourds, like Looking for a Plastic-Free, Cruelty-Free Sponge? Why Not Grow Your Own? Download the Food Monster App. The app is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead Image Source: The Better India