Thursday, March 8, 2012

Homemade Raw Goat's Milk Soap

I am a soapmaker. It is not a career for me, just a very satisfying hobby. I get special orders from friends once in a while, but usually just make soaps for my family to enjoy. I first started making soap about the time that Hurricane Katrina came through New Orleans... my hubby was working with the clean-up efforts, I was home with 4 small children and needed an activity to keep me sane. :) Soapmaking found me, and I've been enjoying it ever since!

Recently, I became aware of a local goat dairy from which I could get raw milk- was I excited! I have made soap with canned goat's milk, but it's just not the same; even the technique to making the soap with raw milk is different. If you have ever made soap before, here's a recipe that you will thoroughly relish:

20 oz coconut oil
20 oz olive oil

12 oz goat's milk, frozen and broken apart.

6.08oz sodium hydroxide (NaOH)

The reason you need to freeze the goat's milk is that the NaOH will burn it otherwise. If you have ever burned milk, you know that it isn't pleasant- and the soap will be ruined! What's great about this technique is that the lye solution doesn't even get above 100 degrees, so as soon as the oil is heated to the correct temp. it's time to mix! No waiting needed.

Step 1: Mix your NaOH into the frozen goat's milk. **Please use precautions when handling lye, as it is caustic and can cause serious burns. Use eye protection and long gloves to protect any exposed skin.** Once the milk is thawed, leave the lye solution in a protected area.

Step 2: Heat your oils to about 100 degrees. This will not take long at all :)

Step 3: Mix the lye solution into the heated fats in a stream no larger than a #2 pencil. Stir with a metal spoon until incorporated.

Step 4: Using an immersion blender, mix the soap until a light trace (thin pudding consistency). Add any additives at this point, then mix until incorporated. I used about 0.3 oz ground lavender buds and 0.7 oz lavender essential oil.

Step 5: Pour your soap into a prepared mold. I used a commercial-grade 9x13 baking pan, lined with plastic. Cover your soap with plastic and wrap your mold in a blanket.

Step 6: Remove your soap when it hardens. This can take anywhere from a couple hours to a day. Cut into bars (From my pan, I cut 10 2 1/2" x 4" bars and several "samples") and let them cure for 2-6 weeks. **Always test the pH before using soap!**

The finished product is a cleansing, hydrating bar that makes a gazoodle bubbles! I can't wait to try this out in the shower and breathe the calming lavender scent... I have tried a couple sample slivers, and it is definitely one of my favorite soaps thus far!

This post was shared on Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Homemade Fermented Salsa

It's springtime in Florida! This past week, I went to a local U-Pick farm and got some great fruits and veggies, and I had a great idea to put some of them into a fermented treat for future use...

My kids helped pick two large buckets of strawberries, which I will be using in our homemade kombucha :) I also got a great deal on organic tomatoes. I got a basket (26) of "canning" tomatoes for $5! Then, I smelled the freshly-cut cilantro that was strategically placed by the cash register... and I got a great idea for those tomatoes. My oldest daughter helped me find the sweet Florida onions, and we were off to a running start.

We were told by the farmer that the sweet onions did not cause tears, but my daughter wasn't taking any chances!

I used a total of 24 tomatoes for our homemade salsa. They are easily peeled after sitting in a potful of boiling water for about 10 seconds!

Yummy... salsa! In my homemade salsa, I added:

24 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I used a small food processor)
4 c diced onions
4-8 jalapeno peppers, diced (use gloves when handling peppers!)
4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
2 1/2 T sea salt
8 garlic cloves, diced

I stirred everything together and put into clean quart canning jars. I also stirred in 2 T whey for each jar. Instead of canning with a water bath and killing beneficial enzymes, I am fermenting my salsa to add beneficial bacteria while preserving it for months in the fridge.

I filled 6 quart jars with this delicious salsa. The salsa will start to ferment on my kitchen counter for 2 days, and then I will move them to the fridge for storage. The flavors will develop over a period of time, but it can be eaten right away! I have no doubt we will finish all of this salsa before 6 months is up :)

I love springtime and look forward to visiting our local U-Pick farm again in the near future! In addition to his early spring crops, he has zucchini, squash, watermelon, and okra planted this year... YUM! Check out your local U-Pick farms at .