November 30

Botanical Soaps

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What Are Botanical Soaps?



Tipper_Valley_Farm_broadleaf plantain sun infused oil

Botanical Soaps are soaps that incorporate plant material and or essential oils into its formula.

  • Here at Valley Farm, we sustainably and locally harvest our own botanicals and infuse both the milk and oils for maximum plant concentration. Pictured left you see a batch of plantain that was just harvested fresh and the resulting jars of sun infused oils.

How are infused oils made?

Infused oils are made by taking plant material, depending on the plant this may be either the leaves, barks, or roots, and accordingly are used dried, fresh, or otherwise. Then steeped in oil for a specific amount of time then strained for use. This process imparts plant properties into the infused oils.

Here are a summary of steps taken to make infused oils:

  1. Select your plant, know how to properly find, identify, harvest, and use. Make sure collect the plant according to proper growth stages (always select plants that are in a clean environment away from contaminations like roadways and ditches)

  2. Now harvest your plant material making sure to collect no more than 1/3 rd. of the plant so as not to harm it and ensure harvests yet to come. Pick correct stages of leaves and buds and use fresh or allow to dry according to individual plant and species needs. Make sure to only collect from healthy vigorous plants and no parts are damaged or diseased.

  3. Then the plant material is cut fine and placed into a clean sterilized jar

  4. A carrier oil of choice is then used to cover the material. Carrier oils are chosen accordingly by preference and properties.

  5. Make sure the plans are completely covered in oil as not to promote mold and bacterial growth; this is why it is crucial to know your plant material and what moisture stages it should be before infusing.

  6. Now, let the oil and plant sit in a sunny location to solar infuse for 6 weeks, the oil should take on color of the plants infused. For example, plantain oil turns a dark deep green, whereas goldenrod turns a nice soft yet brilliant yellow and jewel weed can be a nice brilliant yellow or a stunning bright green depending on infusion choice.

    Alternatively, this process can be sped up by slowly heating oils on stovetop at its lowest setting for 8 hours however, here at tipper valley we prefer the natural process of solar infusion as too much heat can destroy plant properties.

  7. Once the oil is infused it may be stored in a cool dark place, or strained and used immediately.


A patch of jewelweed - note the yellowing leaves and bug bit plants… Move on to a nicer more green patch filled with jewelweed flowers also called touch me nots

A patch of jewelweed – note the yellowing leaves and bug bit plants… Move on to a nicer more green patch filled with jewelweed flowers also called touch me nots


Harvesting Jewelweed - taking the upper 1/3 rd. of the plant including leaves and stems. Once you are ready to infuse them be sure to bruise the leaves to extract their juices, but not before hand or yo will loose its qualities.

Harvesting Jewelweed – taking the upper 1/3 rd. of the plant including leaves and stems. Once you are ready to infuse them be sure to bruise the leaves to extract their juices, but not before hand or yo will loose its qualities.


This is how the finished infused oils, and tea looks. To make one cover and steep in the sun, the other (tea) bring in the house and make a tea infusion.

This is how the finished infused oils, and tea looks. To make one cover and steep in the sun, the other (tea) bring in the house and make a tea infusion.


Sadly, after time the soap does not keep its brilliant orange color. Here is the finished batch mixed at a medium/heavy trace. This will now be poured into soap molds allowed to sit, then unmold, cut into bars, and placed on the drying racks to cure.

Sadly, after time the soap does not keep its brilliant orange color. Here is the finished batch mixed at a medium/heavy trace. This will now be poured into soap molds allowed to sit, then unmold, cut into bars, and placed on the drying racks to cure.

In conjunction with wildcrafted infused oils, we also use essential oils our soaps. Infused oils do not always impart color or scent and essential oils may be used to increase scent. We do not use artificial colorants in our soaps and all colors comes from plant infusions or natural discoloration due to the scent.



Tipper_Valley_Farm_goldenrod

Be on the lookout for posts on:

  • Foraging

  • Wildcrafting

  • Wild eatables

  • Natural plant dyes

  • Dried plants for sale

  • Dried teas

  • Guide to herb drying and storage

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or if you would like to see me post a particular topic feel free to e mail and I will gladly share it.


Tags

all natural, Appalachian Proud, botanical, Kentucky proud, Sustainable ingredients, Sustainably harvested, tipper valley farm


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