Tag Archives: bottle gourd

‘Labu Ketaya’ – an ancient Eco-friendly method for storing drinking water.

‘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.

Bottle Gouard / Diya Labu

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.

Both the light green raw one and the dried one

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 🙂

home made – labu kataya

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 !