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April 4, 2011

Infused Oils

The chickweed is growing like crazy on the north side of the house and will be blooming soon. I picked LOTS last week, to infuse in olive oil for soapmaking.

After picking, I set the chickweed aside overnight, covered with kitchen towels. This wilts it a bit, removing some of the moisture content.

The next day I chopped it up roughly...

...and put in a dry half-gallon jar.

Then I added the olive oil. Normally I'd cover the herbs plus an inch of oil, but this is how much oil I had left in the container. I later bought more and added some to the jar.

You want the herb to be completely covered by the oil to prevent mold.

Set the jar on a saucer and put in a sunny window for several weeks, or put the oil and herb in a crockpot on "warm" for a day or more. Finally, strain out the green stuff. I keep the oil in the refrigerator until I use it to make soap or a salve.

This will be a triple-infused oil. First, the chickweed. When the plantain, which is now just beginning to grow, is ready to pick, I'll use the same oil to infuse the plantain. And finally, I'll use yarrow. They are not in season at the same time, I just use the same oil when the herb is ready.

The oil, and the soap made from it, will be a lovely soft green color.

I picked much more chickweed than I usually do. I put the rest in the dehydrator on the lowest temperature possible (95° on my L'Equip). I'll keep it for later use.


  1. I'm very interested in your infusion process. Is it solely for the colour or can you do it to perfume your soap as well? We have a wonderful sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina) that grows wild in abundance and has a powerful scent that reminds me of the first Herbal Essence shampoo that ever came out. If I could somehow capture this scent it would make an unforgettable soap! Thank you for your soaping tutorials. I'm looking forward to a winter of soap making with the frozen baggies of goat milk I have squirreled away throughout the milking season.

  2. Sheila, I infuse the oils to utilize the properties of the herbs. The color does remain in the soap, but the fragrance doesn't unfortunately.

    I've not made lotions but the fragrance might survive that process. Sugar scrubs and other products would probably retain the lovely scent too. Give it a try, and let me know your results, please.

    Have a great winter of soapmaking!


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