‘Labu Kataya’ is an eco-friendly hand-made product crafted by Weddas/ natives in Sri Lanka, centuries ago. It is sort of a bottle used for storing drinking water. Interestingly, they have used a vegetable for this purpose. By name, it’s ‘Bottle Gouard’ ; a well known vegetable in many countries not only because it is a healthy food but also because of its natural properties that makes it a useful utensil; a handy container.
We call this vegetable ‘Diya Labu’ in sinhala. ‘Diya labu’ has often been used as a medicinal food for patients having diabetes to reduce blood sugar level, for weight controlling, as a remedy for urinary infections. It is also being used as an ingredient of a milk rice type in Sri Lanka.
How they have turned it into a water bottle?
There is a variety of shapes for this vegetable. First, you need to select a long-shaped bottle gourd for this purpose. As this vegetable matures, its flesh starts to dry, loosing its tenderness and weight while the outer layers starts hardening. You can also notice a gradual change of its color from light green to a light brown.
By letting ‘Bottle Gourd’ to mature over some more time , it further develops outer stiffness, making an ideal space to retain some form of a liquid securely inside . Old people have also used this ‘labu-kataya’ to store honey as well.
How to know whether it has achieved the right level of thickness ?
By this time, the vege is transformed to a much lighter weight compared to its heaviness earlier. By giving it a good shake, would give you a sound of its rattling seeds inside.
Then, you need to cap off a (bottle-lid like) small piece horizontally from the Bottle Gourd top. Now you can scoop-out its dried flesh and seeds using a long spoon to make up for its inner storage space.
Wrapping about three strings around the bottle from bottom to top and then gathering all strings to form a bottle strap makes it easier to carry. The picture below is of a one such bottle we tried at home 🙂
What a cool way to carry some water with you during a walk in the jungle ! I love it 🙂
By giving it a good polish, you can also make it to a good eco-friendly product in the local market, tourist points, safaris, and even among small children.
How long this vege can be used for storing water ?
Well, it can be used for about an year as I have heard. Wow ! Isn’t it a great, timely alternative for plastic drinking water bottles ? The Weddas also used this as a utensil for storing honey.
There are other uses as well of this bottle gourd which I am hoping to write more about in a future post.
Thank you for stopping by to read …… hope you enjoyed reading it !