Hey, there! I’m here with an update, and a recipe today. Way back in the winter, I took the word ‘calm’ and decided to make it my word for the year. So far, I’d give myself about a B- for my efforts. I have room to improve, but am happy with my efforts thus far. Outdoor stuff–hiking, gardening, yard work, etc., brings me to a calm spot. Baking brings me to a calm spot. My photography brings me to a calm spot. Recently, I decided to combine those things, along with some extended learning–and work toward a certification as a Master Herbalist. Being able to identify, be knowledgeable of, and even able to use some of what grows all around me (in the most efficient ways possible), feels so important. I have so much curiosity about it all, and a million questions that all have answers–if I just do the work to figure things out. (I do post more about this–along with new photos–on my Instagram: m.peifer.freeman)
For the last few years now, as a precursor to officially jumping into the world of herbalism, I’ve been having a lot of fun with what naturally grows around me. I’ve used dandelions a lot, along with white pine, lilac, black raspberry, wild cat nip, and yarrow. I’ve done a lot of drying, tincture and tea making, and simple syrups, too. This year, I feel like I’ve got a recipe, or twelve, that I’d love to share though–as I’m getting to know what works, and what doesn’t. One thing that I’ve learned is that you have to both work fast, and plan ahead, when it comes to using what is growing, in the season it’s growing. Dandelions are everywhere right now–in a week, or two, they won’t be so much anymore. So, I’ve picked extra to dry, and to infuse oil with now. The yarrow is budding–so, that’s the next on my to-do list. 🙂
Today, since the dandelions are still out in full force–I bring you my favorite dandelion lip balm recipe. I always say that I don’t like cooking/baking with things that you wouldn’t normally have in your kitchen–but, with skin care products I can’t, completely, hold fast to that. Beeswax, and Shea Butter are both things that I’ve had to buy over the past couple of years because they’re so important in natural skin care products. (Both are right around ten bucks on Amazon, and they last for a super long time. Most recipes call for a couple Tablespoons at a time.)
Here’s the lip balm recipe I’m using, and loving, and am even super excited to gift… (You KNOW it’s good then. 🙂 )
You will need:
3 T. of Dried Dandelion Petals (You can make the lip balm whenever, as long as you have these.)
3 T. of oil (Coconut, or Olive seemed to work best.) ((OR, you can use 2 T. of oil, and 1 T. of Shea Butter. ))
1 T. Beeswax (I always use pellets since they are easy to measure.)
Small Strainer or Cheesecloth
Essential Oil–optional (Lavender, Lemon Grass, Sweet Orange, are my favorites for this.)
Something to put finished balm in (I used 1oz. tin containers–I’m not a fan of plastic.)
What to do:
Collect your dandelions. Remember how dandelions shrivel up to about 1/4 their size when picked? Well, pick more than you think you’ll need–like four times more. 🙂 Also, make SURE you’re picking from spots that aren’t sprayed with fertilizers, or pee’d on by dogs.
Cut the green part from the flower–the petals will fall and separate.
Lay the petals out to leave them dry for a few days. I have a ‘dryer’ made from cheesecloth, and sticks. You could use just about anything though–even just a flat piece of cardboard. If you have them on something that doesn’t have good ventilation, mix them around daily.
After they’re dried out, that’s when you get to start making your lip balm. 🙂 Grab your double boiler and add your oils. (Not the beeswax though.) Melt it all together (if you’re using coconut oil, or shea butter, I suppose). Add your dandelion petals and stir them in well. Cover, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Take your pan off of the heat. Leave the oil/dandelion mix sit for a few hours, or even overnight.
After your oil has sat overnight, or whatever–bring it back to the heat, and melt it all back down. (If needed.) Using either your strainer, or cheesecloth, pour the oil through it, in order to separate out the petals–don’t forget to really squeeze them out. Bring your oil back to the heat, and add the beeswax to allow that to fully melt in. Now, you can add your essential oils–if you’d like. Pour your product into your tubes, or containers, and leave them sit, undisturbed, until they are cooled. (I doubled the recipe, and got four, 1oz., tin containers worth.) That’s it; you’re done!
If you’re feeling up for another dandelion project–I’ll be posting a recipe for dandelion lotion bars, and maybe even a salve, next. You’re gonna need to go grab MORE dandelions to infuse with oil though–and, that takes about a week, or two, to do. All you need to do is go collect a BUNCH of dandelion heads. Let them sit out for an hour, or two–to make sure any critters leave. Then, squish them down into a couple of Mason Jars. Cover them with Olive, or Coconut Oil (or a mix, like I did). Let the jars sit, in a dark place, for about a week, or two, before straining out all of the Dandelion heads–leaving the infused oil behind. We’ll be using that oil for the lotion bars/salve. (You’ll need about a cup for both recipes, combined.) Also, now’s a great time to plan ahead and dry out more petals–you can make this lip balm all year long if you like it. 🙂