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Using infused calendula in home made goat milk soap

Using infused calendula in home made goat milk soap

Calendula is renowned for its skin healing and soothing qualities, and has been used in skin care for centuries. The sunny bright yellow-orange flowers are the parts of the plant used.  We are lucky to have calendula flowers growing in the garden as a friendly ‘volunteer’ companion crop.   We have so many, that Pine St farms has started selling them as part of edible flower bouquets.

 

dried calendula petals

 

Picking calendulas and drying the flowers has become part of my spring ritual.  I spread the petals into a surface that gets good ventilation.  After these are completely dried, I store them to infuse in olive oil, or use them for calendula tea.  The basket shows the calendula petals after drying.  When the number of calendula petals increases in mid spring, the basket becomes too small. I then use less ‘picturesque’ – but also very effective – silicone or Teflon sheets to dry the petals.  If you are going to use dried herbs in infusions, make sure the herbs (or petals) are completely dried before adding the oil.  This will prevent problems with mold, fungi, or bacteria.

 

 

I have infused herbs using heat, but this time I infused calendula petals at room temperature, for four weeks, in a dark paper bag.  The cold infusion might have a better chance of retaining the skin soothing qualities of the herb.  This is my hope in any case.   Whether or not I use heat, the ratio is ½ cup ground herb (or petals in this case) to 1 quart of olive oil.

 

After they are infused, petals are strained and the infusion kept in the refrigerator, along with the rest of my infused oils and other fragile skin care oils.

 

infuedcalendula1Photo shows infused calendula in the center jar, alkanet on the left and rosemary on the right.  Not all infusions have to take four weeks.  You can speed it up by heating most herbs in oil at 170F for a couple of hours and let the mix cool overnight.  You can get 170F in some low ovens setting, crock-pots, and double boilers.

 

Infused calendula makes its way into many of Pine St. Products:  lip balms, heat rub balms, massage oils, solid lotions, and soaps.   I like using calendula in some of the soaps for sensitive skins.  Calendula and goat milk make a great combination for gentle soaps.

 

calendulagoatbabassu1

 

To make calendula goat milk soap, I use some calendula infused oil as part of the olive oil in the soap recipe.  We are lucky to get local fresh goat milk from Mariposa Creamery in Altadena.  The goat milk is frozen into ice cubes, slightly thawed out, and the measured NaOH is added to the slushy milk while stirring constantly (under a hood and wearing skin and eye protection, of course).  This will get you a yellow/cream mixture, which I then strain into the measured oils.  For the present batch I added some of the calendula petals at trace, to get a gently exfoliating effect, and a brighter yellow color.

 

 

Soaps shown after a six-week cure. The darker yellow soap is the calendula goat milk soap, the lighter one with the dried calendula petals on top is a babassu and olive oil soap made with calendula tea and calendula infused oil, but without the calendula petals inside.  This results in a smoother soap that can be stamped.

 

New calendula goat milk soaps and the calendula babassu soaps after labeling and ready for the farmer’s market.

 

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Pine Street Products
Handcrafted soaps, lotions, massage oils, and balms. We use herbal infusions, botanical colors and essential oils. Goat milk soap uses milk from goats that have names. 

Pine Street Products (farm division) is a certified California producer. We sell organic fresh citrus, herbs, and other produce at the Altadena Farmer’s Market.

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  1. by mysticventures
    Comment made on: July 21 2013

    Can you use dried lavender buds in goat milk soap? Should they be made in an infused oil or just added to a recipe? Other than looks, what purpose might added herbs or oatmeal or other additives serve?


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