Calendula Hand Balm
No, not a recipe as such, for putting on the table and eating, but still a sort of recipe. Using flowers from the garden, especially ones as exuberant as marigolds/calendulas always seems like a great idea. Calendula allegedly has healing powers, especially for skin problems. I can’t claim miracle cures or anything like that, but this balm feels nice, contains only natural ingredients and keeps your hands nice and soft.
I can’t give exact quantities here, weights of flowers don’t really add up. I picked yellow and orange marigold flowers over several weeks and kept stuffing them into two medium sized jars which I filled with lower quality olive oil. I left them in a warm corner of the kitchen and just added more flowers as I picked them. At first, I just picked off the petals and discarded the rest of the flower, but further research told me that the main healing chemicals are found in the flower head where the petals attach, so I then started just throwing the whole flower heads into the jar. You need to bash the flowers down with a wooden spoon to keep them under the oil or they will start to go off. You end up with a bright orange jar of flowers, under the cool amber of olive oil, so they look quite nice.
You combine the oil with a solid fat to set it. You can use just beeswax granules or you can add additional fats such as shea butter or cocoa butter – I used organic cocoa butter. You can also add a drop or two of essential oil if you would like more fragrance.
Once you think they’ve had long enough to infuse – I left mine about 2 weeks – then strain the mixture. I used an old teatowel in a sieve to let the golden oil run into a bowl. Discard the old petals.
Measure your oil. The general rule is to add about 4-7 parts oil to 1-3 parts of beeswax/other solid fat. The quantities depend on how firm you want your balm. I used about 6 parts oil, 1 part cocoa butter and 2 parts beeswax granules. That gave me a firm but very spreadable waxy balm which is solid at room temperature even in warm weather. I might make it a bit firmer if I do it again, I would say these quantities are slightly too oily for using on your lips, for instance, but it rubs nicely into your hands.
Melt the beeswax and any other fat together in bowl over hot water, not direct heat. Add the marigold oil a little at a time and keep stirring until all is absorbed. Pour the mixture into clean pots and leave the lids off until the contents have cooled down – you don’t want condensation forming on the inside of the lids and dropping onto the balm. Seal up the pots and keep in a cool dark place until use.
They make perfect Christmas presents and will bring a little summer sunshine onto your winter skin.
My recipe was:
About 6 handfuls of calendula flowers, picked over about 2 weeks, when dry.
Steeped in olive oil in glass jars for about 2 weeks. Then sieved out leaving about 200ml infused oil.
I melted 7 tablespoons of beeswax granules (they are very light) with 1 tablespoon of shea butter and mixed in the oil gradually.
That gave me about 12 little pots of balm. As you can see, I used the little jam pots that you get at some hotels. Sadly, I can’t resist taking, cleaning and saving them, and I’m very pleased to have found a use.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.