Soap in Stages of Curing
I have become a soap-making fiend. I went online to find new ways to make soap and discovered a wonderful website from British Columbia. www.cranberrylane.com is a treasure trove of good information, helpful guidance, and clear instruction. For instance, they suggest that vegetable oils are better for your body than the animal fats normally used in soapmaking. All the wonderful soaps I used to get from l’Occitane were all vegetable based, so why couldn’t I do that in my kitchen and totally eliminate the need for lard (Crisco). There were many recipes listed and not one of them called for lard. Bingo!
In addition to the olive oil I always have on hand, I invested in a large jar of coconut oil and a large jar of palm oil. By the gallon, the cost was $21 each. A 16 oz. container was $5—twice as much. Now I was really committed. I would have to justify this significant investment. Three recipes particularly interested me: I could make laundry soap with coconut oil and palm oil and also make a good dish soap with the same recipe as a liquid. Another recipe called for a little shea butter in addition to the coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. The third recipe was for those who have sensitive skin and was the purest, a castile soap with only an olive oil base.
Betty’s daughter uses only a liquid shower jell as does the rest of her family. The recipe for making liquid soap is absurdly simple so that would be a wonderful gift for Betty to make with Wendy when she visits over Christmas. I tested it out first so I could be sure that she wouldn’t have any problems when she got to Wendy’s.
To find these recipes and more, visit cranberrylane.com.
Olive Oil Liquid Soap
Once the soap has been unmolded and before it cures, take one bar (1 cup of shaved soap) and put the shavings, or small chunks in a double boiler. Add 3 cups of water and melt the soap, stirring continuously. When soap is fully melted, add 3 tablespoons vegetable glycerin and ½ teaspoon grapefruit seed extract as a preservative to prevent rancidity. Pour into bottles with pop-up or pump lids. Will last 6 to 8 months.
Olive Oil bars right out of the mold, still very soft
In my first effort, I made the mistake of putting the soap in a Calphalon pot in a double boiler to melt the soap. Next time, I’ll use a glass pitcher. My pot, with its aluminum lining reacted to the lye in the soap. I wonder if it’s okay to use…It looks quite strange. Warnings abound about using non-reactive utensils when working with lye. I forgot.
At least it's clean!