How to Cure Your Gourd
For your gourd to be ready for use, it needs to be cured. This prevents cracking, molding, and improves the flavor of your chimarrão. You will notice that the longer you use your gourd, the better your maté will taste.
Fill the gourd half-way with Yerba Maté. Add 1 tablespoon of ashes (from fire wood or other burnt plants do not use ashes from coal or other non-vegetable sources). Finally, pour hot water into the gourd until it is full. Let the gourd sit in a well-ventilated place for 2-3 days, always topping it off with water as the gourd absorbs it. After 3 days pour out the contents of the gourd and rinse thoroughly in running water. Your gourd is ready for use!
Another way of doing this that probably yields better results is to mix only the ashes and water in the gourd and let that sit for 24 hours, followed by drying it in a well ventilated place for 72 hours then curing it with the maté for another 48 hours. This process is more time-consuming, but should produce a more durable gourd.
Taking Good Care of Your Gourd
After you have cured your gourd and are using it, it is essential that you know how to take good care of it. A good gourd should last you a long time, giving you years of flavorful maté drinking. First of all, the gourd should never be dropped. Although it may not look delicate, the gourd is like a piece of fine china. If dropped or abused, small cracks may begin to form which increase with time, creating leaks and compromising your gourd.
The gourd is also prone to mold if not dried correctly. To keep you gourd dry between uses, rinse it out well with running water and position it in a well-ventilated, warm place, preferably at a 45° angle so that the circulating air flows through the gourd. Optionally, reserve a cotton cloth to dry the excess water after rinsing the gourd. In case signs of mold (usually white or black furry spots) do appear once the gourd is cured, rinse the gourd in scalding water. You may, as an option, use a little hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), then rinse thoroughly with water. Cure the gourd with ashes again to remove and destroy any residue left by the mold.
If you are prone to have allergic reactions to molds, do not try to reuse the gourd. The Maté Factor is not responsible for personal health problems acquired through the misuse of gourds, the failure to follow the instructions above, or the use of a gourd once it has molded. The instructions provided in case of mold are intended to instruct customers on how the native peoples traditionally deal with molding gourds.