Every year I make all of my own holiday gifts. There are many reasons; they are more heartfelt, they are more unique, they are better quality than you can buy in the store, you can purchase a lot of the containers and packaging a year in advance to take advantage of after holiday sales, and in general it is less expensive (if you have the proper equipment) to make home made gifts than it is to buy them in the stores.
This year I am making soaps, bath oils, gardener’s salve, herbal burning bundles as well as home baked cookies.
I have covered both the soap making process and the burning bundles in previous posts, so I thought I would focus on making salves.
This particular salve is healing for hard working hands, particularly those that work in the garden a lot. It heals sprains, cuts, picks, splinters, thorn pricks, etc. naturally and quickly. Apply liberally before and after working in the yard, gardening, and/or household chores. Focus on the extremities…areas such as hands, fingertips, cuticles, elbows, knees, feet, and heels.
I usually have an over abundance of herbs every year, this is a good opportunity to use them or if you take gleaning cuts from the herbs at the end of the year, you can use them dried.
12 ounces oil blend (i.e. grape seed, coconut and olive oils)
1 ounce herbal blend comfrey root, calendula, and plantain, lavender (dried)
1-2 ounces beeswax
1 ounce blend essential oils of rosemary, lavender, and lemon
1. Weigh the dried herbs using a kitchen scale.
2. Prepare the oil infusion. I use a hot oil extraction method, but choose your favorite. Place the herbs and the oil in a double boiler and bring to a low simmer. Slowly heat for 30 to 60 minutes, checking frequently to be sure the oil is not overheating.
3. Strain the oil and herb infusion through a cheesecloth. Squeezing to extract as much oil as possible. Be sure you collect at least 8-10 ounces of herb infused oil.
4. Over very low heat continue stirring and melt 1-2 ounces (depending on how hard you’d like your salve) of beeswax into the herb infused oil.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Add essential oils and extracts, if using. Stir well to combine and pour into tin or glass containers. This year I used tin containers from The Container Store and a couple of beautiful European canning jars I had in the pantry.