What I wanted to make was calendula salve, for minor skin irritations, since it’s a soothing, healing type herb.
I started with two batches of calendula oil. The one on the left was made using only the petals, and the one on the right was made using the whole flower heads, chopped with a knife.
After straining out the flower bits, I filtered it with a clean old t-shirt.
Can you see the two tones of oil here? The lighter coloured was from the batch with only petals in it, and the darker orange is from the batch of chopped up whole flowers. I think next time I will definitely include all the flower parts, not just the petals!
I weighed the oil. I think it was about 3.6 oz. Rule of thumb for salves is to add 1 oz of beeswax for every 4-5 oz of oil. So I just threw in the whole ounce of beeswax and began melting it down over low heat. This is where I should have been more careful. I now have very hard salve. So for now I’ll call it lip balm.
The only problem is, I put it in these jars that are too big for balm. So…. I might be re-melting and either adding more oil, or putting it in smaller lip-balm style containers. Maybe with a bit of essential oil of something nice added as well, to counteract that olive oil odour. Live and learn…
There is a lot of Calendula planted in my garden. I love the beautiful orange daisy-like flower, for decoration and for its usefulness. It’s edible; you can sprinkle petals on salads or cook them with rice to colour the rice like you might use saffron. (Some have actually called it ‘poor man’s saffron’ for this reason.)
Yesterday, though, I picked the flowers I had on hand and am currently in the process of creating a calendula oil to use in making salve.
Here’s what I’ve done so far:
Picked the flowers.
About a quarter cup, if you smoosh it down. Looks like it took 7 flowers.
Petals in a glass jar.
Half a cup of olive oil added to calendula petals.
Stirring it up.
Label and date.
Now it’s in a sunny window, where it will stay for a week or two until the oil has absorbed the colour and nutrition from the calendula petals.
After the oil is strained, it will be used to make a salve for dry skin.
Reader’s Digest has quite a few articles about growing food this month! I was pleasantly surprised to see a page about edible flowers, one of my favourite things. It often comes as a surprise to people that they can eat the violets that grow in their lawn (if they are lucky enough to have such a thing). Pansies are also edible, and Johnny Jump-Ups, which is why I’m growing them, along with Nasturtiums and Sunflowers and Calendula and Bergamot.
Something I didn’t know, that the article taught me, is that the older rugosa varieties of roses are more tasty than the newer hybrids. I’ve been wondering about rosehips, too, and I have a feeling that if the older types are better tasting they probably also have better rosehips. So I’ll be checking out rugosa varieties, if it ever comes to the point where I’m planting a rosebush!
Because landscaping should be as edible as possible.
In another article Sara Alway writes about ‘Soil Mates’, beneficial pairings of veggies and herbs. I’d heard of growing Tomatoes and Basil together, but it wasn’t actually mentioned here. Some odder pairings were mentioned, like Spinach and Pepper, Brussels Sprouts and Thyme, and, in keeping with the edible flowers theme, Zucchini and Nasturtiums.
The article is actually condensed from her book, which looks like a fun and informative read. I might have to get me a copy, or see if the library has it.
It’s definitely starting to get way more exciting around here, with all the seedlings taking over the place and ruling my life! Today is moving day for quite a few of them. More peppers have sprouted, so I need to make space under the grow lights upstairs, so the seedlings that have finished germinating and are more hardy will be moved out to the greenhouse. I’m sure I’ll be taking photos, for those who love the baby pics.
Happy sunny day today!
Here’s my super-not-organized seed filing system – two shoe boxes. Oh, and add a few jars of bean seeds and plates of onion sets and date seeds and the dried lemon basil hanging from the ceiling in my office. I think it’s time to get organized. But how? I’m not sure the best way for keeping track of seeds, other than boxes. Some seeds are grouped according to type – the tomatoes are the best example – but others can get confusing, like the large ziplock bag of ‘herb seeds’, and another one that is ‘flower seeds’. The question is, do I keep the calendula and pansy seeds separate from other flower seeds, since they’re edible? Do they then become herbs, or vegetables?
It’s obvious I need some better way to handle this, before I start growing thousands of seedlings to sell! There’s so much to do these days; all the behind the scenes prep work for setting up this business. It’s been fun so far, figuring out the facebook page and twitter, and getting into this blogging groove. I’m getting some 1″ pins printed, as promo/sale items, which I’m really excited about. I still need a business card and possibly a print newsletter – I’m thinking of producing something in hard copy – and many other things that are swirling around in my consciousness.
What would you like to read about in a blog or newsletter?
Leave me a comment and I’ll send you some of the lemon basil seeds that are hanging from my ceiling.