How to cure the Mate gourd.
The curing process adapts the mate to the kind of infusion for which is going to be used.
Mates are divided in two categories: curable and incurable.
Incurable mates are those made of non-porous materials (glass, metal, china, etc.). They should not be used because they lose all "memory" of the taste when they are washed, and, therefore, are unable to impart that aged taste that only a cured mate can do.
The curing process is divided in two steps: before the first use (or proper curing) and the curing that results from the everyday use of the gourd with only one kind of infusion (for example pure mate with no additives).
The proper curing has two purposes: the removal of soft tissues and the adaptation of the gourd to the particular kind of infusion.
For the removal of soft tissues, fill the gourd with used yerba mate add hot water and let stand for a day. It is better to use pure yerba mate and not yerba mate that was used with sugar because the latter decomposes easily.
Next day, remove the yerba, rinse the gourd and scrap the soft tissues.
Repeat the whole process one more time. For the adaptation to "black" mate or cimarrón (that is pure yerba mate with no additives like sugar), fill the gourd with fresh yerba mate and add boiling water.
Let stand for a day.
Repeat for two or three days if you feel like it. For "sweet" mate, first add two or three teaspoons of sugar and a small piece of burning coal.
Cover the gourd mouth and shake vigorously to burn the sugar homogeneously.
Empty the gourd and proceed as for the cimarrón mate.