Spring has arrived and the dandelions are in full bloom. We have acres of yard that we don't treat with chemicals. It is a natural field, kept mowed, so it is filled with wild propagated native plants. Dandelions, violets, clover, yarrow along with grasses. With the bee population endangered it is a great help to provide untreated fields and meadows. So, as you see, we have tons of dandelions - fresh, pure and ready for harvest for use in my soap, salves, tinctures and distillation.
You can harvest the flowers, leaves and roots for use in various applications. Today I am gathering the new opened flower heads for my dandelion salve. It is best to do this just when they open before they are pollinated, this helps avoid the blossoms becoming the dried, fluffy seed heads. I only harvest a small portion of the flowers to be sure the bees have plenty for their needs. Harvest early in the morning just after the dew has evaporated for best results. You can get a full basket quickly.
You don't want any stems, pinch the flowers close to the green tip as possible. Spread the flower heads to dry for a day or so on a screen or paper towels. You want to remove some of the moisture before preparing the infusion because water content in oil infusions invites problems.
After air drying, loosely fill a sterile jar with the flower heads and cover completely with a good quality oil. I use organic virgin olive oil, golden jojoba or sweet almond oil. Keep the jar out of the light in a cool to room temp environment for several weeks, shake occasionally. I prefer the cold infusion method to preserve all of the goodness of the herbs. Some speed up the process with gentle warmth but for me, cold infusion it is - slow and steady yields the best results. You can find details about infusion herbal oils on my other blog post here Cold Infusion Herbal Oils by Soapsmith.
Once finished, strain the infused oil through several layers of cheesecloth to remove all of the plant material. The oil is ready for use in soap making, salves etc. You can store the final product in an amber glass vessel in a cool dark cupboard for up to a year.
You can make any herbal salve using your infused oils, waxes and butters of your choice. This is a very forgiving recipe so you can choose the oils, waxes or butters of your choice. Olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, argan, coconut oil - bees, soy or candelilla waxes - cocoa, shea, kokum. mango butters are all good choices A good starting point is:
8 ounces of infused oil
2 to 3 ounces of beeswax
2 to 3 ounces of shea or cocoa butter
Optional - essential oils of your choice 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
You can adjust the consistency of the salve but using more or less wax or oils until you find a final product that meets your needs. Simply melt the wax in double boiler or microwave, add any butters to the melted wax and stir, blend in your infused oil and pour into tins or jars. Cap and label. Enjoy!
Thanks for visiting,
Allegheny Hearth Bonnie Klisiewicz Bartley Soapsmith