What can you do with Goldenrod, you make Goldenrod handcrafted soap! It’s that’s time of the year when the landscape in my area, becomes blanketed in bright yellow sweet smelling flowers.
There are many medicinal uses for goldenrod one is it’s healing properties for the skin. It can help to sooth eczema as well as heal burns and wounds. When using goldenrod in soap making, it creates a nice soothing bar that doesn’t dry my skin out. I use this soap both on my face and body Just remember not to get the soap into your eyes, because it will burn as it is real soap.
Goldenrod verses Ragweed
Many people get Goldenrod confused with Ragweed. During the end of summer both goldenrod and ragweed are beginning to bloom, and allergies set in. Most people blame the goldenrod for their allergy, when in fact it’s the ragweed causing them their issues. Ragweed’s pollen is airborne which causes the sneezing, itchy watery eyes, while goldenrod’s is not. Even pets can be allergic to ragweed. That doesn’t mean that everyone may not be allergic to goldenrod. Allergies to anything natural or synthetic does happen, and can come out of now where. So always make sure what ever your foraging is safe for you and your family.
I’m big into foraging and collect many wild plants and roots through out the spring, summer and fall months. I use them for teas, tinctures, cooking and making cold process soaps.
When the fields begin to bloom, in the goldenrod’s tiny yellow flowers. I head out and start collecting them. This was one of the best years I’ve seen for goldenrod. We’ve had a lot of rain and hot days, which gave use a beautiful bounty.
Hang them up to dry
When cutting the thick stems, I usually cut them almost to the ground. The leaves can be used in teas as well as the flowers. But for making soap, I’ll only use the flower part. Once I’ve cut the stems, I’ll rinse them off and allow any bugs to climb off. I then bundle them up and tie them in a few bunches. Hang them up in my garage to dry, It doesn’t long for them to dry out. If we get a lot of rain or it’s unusually humid, I’ll bring them in to dry. Once they’ve completely dried, run your hand down the stem and the leaves will come right off. You’ll want to do this over a large bowl to catch the leaves. Store them in a canning jar and vacuum seal the lid to preserve them. Do the same with the flowers, and store them in a separate canning jar.
Oil infused Goldenrod Flowers
For making the soap I did an oil infusion with the goldenrod flowers. Not only does the oil infusion get the essence of the flower, it also pulls out the color of the flower. Which also helps to naturally color your soap. You can learn more about oil infusion here. Either of those methods will work, it all depends on how fast you want your oil be infused. So you can make your goldenrod handcrafted soap.
Making your soap
I have never made Goldenrod handcrafted soap before, but new it could be done. I did a lot of research on it, and found Jan Berry @ TheNerdyFarmWife.com came up with a wonderful goldenrod soap recipe. Jan has become one of my favorite soap teachers and I’ve purchase a couple of her books. If you’ve never soaped before and would like to learn how. I recommend Jan and her expertise, she also shares her knowledge in homemade skin care.
Terms to know
If your a beginner cold process soap maker it’s important to learn the soaping terms, such as saponification, gel, trace and what a soap lye calculator is used for. Read up on as much soaping info as you can, before you attempt your first soap bars. There are many top notch teachers out there with years of experience that you can learn from. They each have their own way of handcrafting soap. So one method and recipe may work for you and one may not. Also get to know your oils, there are many out there. You don’t need all the expensive fancy oils to start out with for making your very first soap. A little tip: Shea Butter is related to latex, so if your allergic to latex. Your going to want to avoid using it in your soaps.
Other Supplies You’ll Need
One word of caution, only use your supplies you’ve purchased for your soap making. Never use your bowls, measuring spoons, etc, for cooking. You don’t want to risk contaminating your food with lye or other chemicals. Keep your soap making equipment only for soap making.
- A good kitchen scale for weighing all your ingredients
- Soap Lye calculator like thesage.com
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) I use this brand or this one.
- Protective eye wear (this is very important to use when working with lye. You don’t it accidentally splashing into your eyes)
- Face mask (so your not breathing in the lye fumes)
- Rubber or plastic spatulas
- Stainless steel spoons
- Stick blender
- Digital Thermometer Gun like this
- Containers for mixing the lye (I use cleaned large greek yogurt containers)
- Containers for mixing your soap ( for small batches I use large plastic heavy mixing bowls or stainless steel pots)
- measuring spoons
- Dried Goldenrod
- Quart canning jars for infusing oil
- Essential oils ( not necessary)
- Distilled water ( avoid using tap or well water, it affects the out come of your soap)
- White Vinegar ( helps to neutralize any lye if you get it on your skin. I also spray it on my washed bowls, etc to neutralize any lye residue)
- Freezer paper
- Old cookie sheets (for setting the molds on, not necessary. I use them because it’s easier for me to carry my molds where I’m going to let them my poured soap cure)
Use a Soap Lye Calculator
Once you’ve got all your safety and essential equipment together. Always run the soap recipe through a soap calculator. To make sure your using the right lye solution amount per fats. Sometimes there may be a miss print in soap instructions, and you don’t want to take the chance in ruining your batch. When following someones soap recipe and your a beginner, make sure you use the oils they recommend and their soaping temp. I wouldn’t change those two things until you’ve made a couple of soaps. You’ll want to get the feel and understanding on how the lye works with the oils first.
Molds I use
There are a lot of different soap molds out there, and if your a beginner it may be at bit over whelming which one to choose. I would suggest you start off with the rectangle molds first. They are the easiest to un-mold and cure your soap in the first 24-48 hours. Plus the shape of the bars are easy to hold in your hands, once cut and cured. I would save the design molds, with shapes when your more experienced in soap making. One of my favorite starting out molds are the Flexible Rectangular Soap Silicone Mold with Wood Box and the Crafters Choice mold. This mold worked out perfectly for my goldenrod handcrafted soap.
Your Skin Will Thank you
Once you’ve learned everything you need to know, to make your first cp soap (cold process). You’ll never go back! Since I’ve switched to my handcrafted soaps my face and body has cleared up from allergies, itchy and redness. Most folks are used to the chemical faux soaps from the grocery store. So washing with real soap feels very different than using the commercial stuff, it takes a bit to get used to. Did you know that soap isn’t a real soap by law, unless it’s made with sodium hydroxide? Next time you take a look at your “soap” brand, notice it doesn’t say the word soap. The manufacturer will use words like, beauty bar, etc. It’s nothing but un-healthy chemicals, that your body absorbs.
Making and selling my own
I have been working on my own formula of soaps for resale. It’s quite the process learning the laws of selling soaps, everything legal you need to have. But, it will be worth it in the end. For me, it’s all about the love of making soap and sharing it with everyone else. There’s enough dirty bodies in this world for one more soap maker.
If you don’t want to give soap making a try yourself, then look for a soap maker in your area and give their bar a try. You just may want to try out a bar first to see if you’ll like it or not. It may take a couple of bars to see which soap formula agrees with your type of skin. But, when you switch over, your skin will thank you for it.