Gifts from the Garden (Kyle Books, 2013) is food writer Debora Robertson’s inspirational collection of over 100 pretty and practical projects for any green-fingered crafter wanting to make the most of their garden’s bounty throughout the seasons. From the edible to the decorative, Robertson presents original ideas to suit every occasion. This excerpt gives you a step-by-step marigold soap recipe with honey and oatmeal accents.
You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Gifts from the Garden.
Marigold Soap Recipe with Honey and Oatmeal
Soap making can be just as satisfying and addictive as creating delicious recipes. Combine ingredients to suit your mood, whether you want something to uplift, energize, or promote relaxation. This is a pretty and soothing concoction. Marigolds are a natural anti-inflammatory, honey nourishes and moisturizes the skin, and oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant. Cheering, soothing, citrus-based essential oils provide the perfect seasoning.
• 18oz melt-and-mold white soap
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 5 tablespoons dried marigold petals
• 4 tablespoons coarse oatmeal
• 10 drops bergamot, neroli, or mandarin essential oil
• 1 tablespoon sweet almond or peanut oil
• Soap molds, muffin pans, or small tart pans
1. Grate the soap with the coarse side of a box grater and place it in a heatproof bowl large enough to fit over one of your pans. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler. Add the honey to the soap. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water—the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl—and melt the soap with the honey, stirring from time to time, until it’s liquid and well blended.
2. Remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in the marigold petals, oatmeal, and essential oils and mix thoroughly. Lightly but thoroughly grease the molds with a little of the sweet almond or peanut oil. Pour the liquid soap into a measuring cup and then pour it into the molds. Rap the molds gently on the work surface to eliminate air bubbles (this isn’t necessary if you are using silicone molds) and leave to set for at least 4 hours.
3. If you’re using silicone molds, simply press the soaps out. If using metal molds, use a small, sharp knife to help ease them out. Leave in a cool, dry place for 3–4 weeks to “cure” or harden. Makes 10 x 2oz soaps.
New or vintage muffin and tart pans in interesting shapes make great soap molds. You can simply unmold the soaps and pack them in a pretty box or give them in the pans, as an extra little gift for the lucky recipient.
How to Dry Marigold Petals
Pick the marigolds (Calendula officinalis) when the flowers are fully open, on a sunny morning after the dew has evaporated. Place them on a drying screen in a dry, shady, well-ventilated place and turn them regularly until they are papery. Pull the petals from the buds and store them in a dark glass jar or other opaque container until ready to use. As well as using them to add color to simple cheeses, you can infuse them in tea, scatter them over risottos or pilafs, or use them in beauty preparations such as the Marigold Face Tonic.