Gourds have as many uses as they do shapes, colors and textures. Bitter Melons are particularly good stuffed with meat, seafood or beans, as are hairy melons, especially when stuffed with pork and baked. Bottle and Calabash Gourds are excellent in meat soups or stir-fries. Young Luffas can be prepared just like zucchini. And while used in a variety of Chinese dishes, the Winter Melon is the key ingredient for the famous winter melon soup, popular at Chinese banquets. The soup is cooked in the melon itself, and chunks of melon flesh are scooped out and served with the soup. Gourds used for eating and cooking should be harvested young, as they tend to grow bitter the longer they are left on the vine.