I must have spent hours in the back yard and in my neighbors' yards over the course of a week gathering up dandelions to make dandelion infusions for dandelion soap. I've been waiting with baited breath to make this soap since I read about it in an article last Fall. And since we don't use pesticides in our yard, I figured my own flowers would be safe to use. So when the dandelions started popping up in the yard, out I went. I filled a large bowl and figured that would be enough to fill a large jar for a nice infusion. I was so excited. I set the flowers to dry on a paper towel and a few days later noticed that they had considerably reduced in size. I mean they really shrank a lot! It wasn't even enough to fill 1/4 of a jar. No bueno.
Out I went again, this time asking my neighbors as well since I'd pretty much depleted the ones in my yard. (P. S. I knew that these particular neighbors don't use any pesticides in their grass either, so the flowers were safe also.)
While I was bent over in my yard, I noticed there were hundreds of violets cropping up as well. Why not gather those up also? I bet I could infuse them into a light oil. But now, imagine how many violets I needed to fill a jar once they dried! I bet when you read the first sentence you thought "hours?" Really, stop exaggerating! You were thinking that, I know. But seriously, it was hours and it did take days as I had to keep checking back for new blooms. I even had my granddaughters collecting flowers. Those violets shrink down to the size of an ant! And it took over a week for them to be nice and dry. When infusing organic matter for soaps or creams, you want it to be good and dry because any moisture could cause your infusion to spoil and/or become rancid. Yuck!
I wanted to make both an oil infusion and a "tea" for the dandelion soap. The "tea" would be used instead of distilled water. If you want to make drinkable Dandelion Tea, be absolutely certain your flowers are organic and no pesticides are involved. You will also want only the petals. Anything green will make your tea bitter. For my purposes, it didn't matter if I left on a little of the green parts for my tea or my oil infusion. But, I did pinch off any stems on both the dandelions and the violets. (I'm still not sure how I'm going to use the violet oil infusion.)
Since the tea needs to be made with fresh as opposed to dried flowers, I used the last batch of flowers I picked. So, let's start with that. I separated out some of the dandelions and put them in small batches into a colander for rinsing.
Fill a small jar halfway with flowers and pour enough boiling water over to cover the flowers. You can make several jars of tea, if you like. After at least an hour, you can use this for your soap or lotions, but I covered mine and put them in the fridge so it would keep until I was ready to use it. And that's it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Don't forget to strain it before using it, and don't use the flowers.
Now for the oil infusion, it's a little more involved, but honestly, not much more. It's pretty simple. Once the flower heads were sufficiently dry, I filled old jars about 3/4 full with flowers and added enough sunflower oil to cover them. Sunflower oil is very light, making it a good oil to use for infusions. There are two ways to infuse oils. One is to let it sit in a dark cool spot for about 6 weeks and the other is to use a crock pot for a couple of hours. Some people pour the oil and the flowers directly into the crock pot for a few hours and then strain out the flowers when it is cooled. I've never tried that method, so I can't attest to it's effectiveness.
Here is my very simple, few step method for creating infused oils. Any light, virtually odorless oil will do. My personal favorite is sunflower oil.
1. Fill a mason jar or (similar jar) about 3/4 full with dried flowers (or herbs or other organic matter). I pinched off the stems and only used the "heads" for these. When infusing calendula, I only use the petals.
2. Pour in enough oil to completely cover the flowers. Cover tightly.
3. Place the jar or jars standing straight up (or on a tilt if your crockpot is shallow).
4. Fill the crockpot with warm water. Do not let water reach the rim of the jar as a precaution against water getting into the jar. You will probably not be able to cover the crockpot, but that is ok.
4. Let that "cook" in the crockpot for at least 3 hours.
That should be enough time, but I gave this batch an extra 2 weeks in the dark since I was going away for a while. A little extra time never hurts! As you can see, the oil infusion will darken slightly. Interestingly, the violets floated to the top.
Now that your infusion is ready to use, carefully strain out the flowers, by pouring the oil through a strainer into another similar sized jar. "Squeeze" the excess oil from the flowers by pressing down on them so that you can get every last drop of oil. You can use some of the flowers in soap if you are making it immediately after straining, but otherwise, toss the flowers.
You can use this method to infuse pretty much anything into oils for your soaps, creams, body butters, lotion bars or even cooking. Be creative! Just make sure to use all natural, organic herbs, flowers etc.
Thanks for stopping by! Keep your eye out for the Dandelion Tea Soap on sale soon.
Welcome! My name is Kim. I'm a wife, mother, teacher, grandmother, avid crafter of all sorts and yoga enthusiast. Kimsoapia Kreations is my latest kreative endeavor. Everything is kreated with love and healing in my heart. I hope you enjoy.