895. Curaçao’s Calabash

Kalbas di Kunuku at Hofi Pachi Cola in West Punt.

We grow two types: Kalbas di mondi (wild) and Kalbas di kunuku (field). Kalbas di kunuku has the larger fruit of the two. The branches are certifiably crazy and point in all different directions.  The fruits, Kalbas in Papiamentu, are hollowed out and dried out to serve many different purposes. Filled with seeds, they become Maracas, used in our folklore and hip gyrating music.  Cut in half they become handy cups and bowls, wea di funchi di kalbas is a favorite.

The mondongo (pulp) is sticky and gooey and carries special skin healing powers. It’s often used to wash dogs with tick infestations. The mondongo is also used in syrup (Strop’i kalbas) taken to fight the common cold.

And the seeds are sometimes used in making carabobo, a special candy sold by street vendors. (I’ve never tried it, have you? Is it any good?)

Kalbas are as ubiquitous as Apples up North and we’re not sure what our fore-mothers and fathers would have done without them… We’re also Crazy impressed by how well they managed to utilize all different aspects of this fruit! Awesome.

According to Juan-Carlos, mondongo is also used to color hair, keeping it shiny and dark, fighting the signs of aging and the equatorial sun’s bleaching… Never tried it, but I’m sure it works!

“Kalbas no ta kai leu for di su palu” (translation: apple never falls far from the tree) The apple never falls far from the free; parents are patterns.

“Si bo por kita bo set ku awa den kalbas, no tin mester di usa glas frances” (translation: If you can quench your thirst with water served in a calabash half, why bother with fancy French glasses) So, live within your means, stretch your legs according to your coverlets.

“Kalbas mes ta bati ku otro” (translation: calabash clash among themselves) Every family has issues.


de Boer, Bart. Nos matanan i palunan Onze planten en bomen Our plants and trees. Curaçao Bonaire Aruba. Curaçao, 1996.

Hendrikse-Rigaud, Renée. 2000 Proverbio i ekspreshon Spreekwoorden en gezegden ProverbsCuraçao, 1994.

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in Manhattan but sometimes miss my first awesome island. Thanks for visiting!


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