(Homesteading.news) We all know that every day in the life of a homesteader is filled with work and chores that are hard on your hands and skin, but as spring approaches, planting season looms as does the addition of extra work like fixing fence, painting, rehabbing outdoor spaces and yard work. That means even more wear and tear on hands, especially.
Work gloves help keep hands free of splinters and cuts, but they don’t do much to protect the integrity of the skin. For that we need a little help, but not in the form of some perfumed “lotion” that is more chemical than it is cream.
Dandelion salve is the perfect solution for dry, cracked and overworked hands and skin, and as winter turns to spring, there will be more than enough dandelions popping out of the ground to make as much salve as you want. It’s wholesome, natural, and very soothing.
What’s more, it’s very inexpensive. And you can add in some essential oils for a little relief from the aches as well as beeswax for extra softness.
Making infused oils is pretty simply, actually. First, you need to harvest a large amount of dandelion flower heads; cut off the stem as high as possible so as to minimize the amount of green foliage. Take and fill a large salad bowl – for about four cups of fresh dandelion heads.
Spread the heads out on a towel and let them dry for about an hour, then fill a glass pint-sized canning jar with the heads (should be just enough to fill it). Next, pour olive oil into the jar and make sure it covers all of the dandelion heads, then place the lid on the jar.
There are a couple of ways you can infuse oil – slow infusion, which takes four to six weeks, or fast infusion, which is the preferable method because the oil can be heated on your stove.
Put a small pot on the stove with a few inches of water, then put your glass jar of oil and flower heads into the pan, turning the stove on “medium.” Once the water heats but is not yet boiling, turn off the heat and allow the jar to remain in the pan of water until everything cools down. Next, set your jar on a shelf to allow it to continue the infusion process.
Allow infusion to take place for 3-5 days, and then strain the flower heads from the oil. It’s best to use a fine mesh like cheesecloth to strain with. Next, squeeze the flower heads into the straining cloth to extract all the oil you can.
Compost your flower heads and then use your oil!
For Dandelion Salve try this recipe:
-16 oz of infused dandelion oil
-2 oz coconut oil
-2 oz of beeswax
-OPTIONAL: 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil (or whatever scent you prefer)
Place the beeswax and coconut oil in a glass jar or measuring cup. Sit a pan on the stove with several inches of water in it. Sit the glass jar down in the pan and heat on low/medium.
Once the beeswax and coconut oil are melted, carefully stir in the infused dandelion oil. If the wax begins hardening again, just heat it up some more until melted.
Add in essential oil and stir well. The dandelion oil does have a dandelion scent you may prefer something else.
Carefully remove the glass jar from the pan and pour into a jar. Allow the salve to cool.
The salve will have a firm consistency but because it contains coconut oil it will easily soften in your hands. Also, you may have some infused oil left; keep it in a squeeze bottle and use it as a massage oil when you need to relieve those aches and pains of a busy day.
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