There are various types of mate. Although they can be made of different materials (like silver, glass, metal, plastic, silicone or others), the traditional one by excellence is made out of calabash gourd. However, it is not enough to just go and buy it to be able to use it: the calabash gourd (like the wooden ones, or the horns and hooves of animals) must be cured.
What does it mean to cure mate? It is nothing more and nothing less than the procedure of preparing the container so that it can be used correctly. Curing causes the pores of the mate to seal so the flavor of the container does not pass into the infusion.
Why cure mate? well-cured mates are richer. When curing them, we seal the organic material (the pores) of the mate so that the flavor is not as invasive and intense.
Besides, because mate gourds are made of organic material, they can take time to dry after being used. This way there is a risk of mold growth (small green fungi that looks like fluff) inside. Curing helps them dry faster and thus prevent fungus.
Mate gourd curation steps:
1- Introduce moist yerba inside the gourd (cover the mate completely). You can use wet yerba from another mate because it has less dust, but it is also possible to do it with new yerba too.
2- Introduce warm water or mate temperature water (158 to 176 ° F). This helps to disinfect and remove the dust.
3- Let it sit for 24 hours.
4- Remove the yerba with a spoon.
5- Scrape the skin to remove the membranes of the gourd.
6- Wipe with a napkin to remove the moisture from the mate.
7- Let the mate rest outdoors (or wherever there is fresh air).
8- Repeat these steps after a few minutes.
9- It is advisable to repeat this process 2-4 more times.