I recently bought an apple gourd at a farm stand. In the Spring, I hope to make a new bird house out of it for smaller songbirds. The penny in the photograph will give you a sense of scale as to how large an apple gourd grows.
I found good information on How to Dry Large Gourds, but instead of drying for a week on newspapers, I am using a piece of bath scrunchy. (Bath scrunchies are made up of a tube of nylon netting.) I knotted the bottom of the tube, slipped the gourd inside, tied a knotted loop at the top, and hung the gourd on a porch hook. The weather is supposed to be warm next week, suspending the gourd will give the entire skin a chance to dry out.
When the first drying time is complete, I will bring the gourd indoors, wash in disinfectant, and hang it once again, this time in the dark basement. Hopefully, near Springtime, the gourd will be completely dry and ready to craft into a bird house. Large gourds of all types are widely available at this time of year in farmer’s markets and produce stands.