Saturday, December 8, 2012

Making Calendula Salve

Flowers

Back in August we planted a very simple fall garden.  Jeffrey and I looked through our basket of seeds and picked out a few varieties with cold tolerance and a relatively short number of days to maturity.  We planted radishes, tat soi, peas (won't do that again), cilantro, carrots, and calendula.  Calendula was a wild card because we'd never grown it before and our seeds were packaged in California—so the growing instructions were a little unreliable.  But I love to experiment with flowers, so we put some seeds in the ground.

And it flourished!  We were surprised and delighted to be picking the bright red, orange, and yellow flowers for weeks on end!  Even after the first couple of hard frosts, the lush green plants bounced back.  On sunny November days, Amabel and Ellen would come running around the side of the house with their hands full of blooming calendula.

The girls knew that we were saving the petals.  They'd seen Jeffrey and I pulling them off the flowers and listened to us talking about making salve.  "What is salve?"  They wondered.

Seeping

It's actually quiet simple to make.  We followed the general instructions from A Delightful Home.  First we soaked a fourth-cup of dried petals (which is a lot more fresh petals than I expected!) in olive oil for two weeks.

Calendula Oil

Then we strained the petals out of the olive oil and combined the resulting oil with a forth-cup of beeswax and 20 drops of lavender essential oil.  We ended up with little jars of lovely honey-colored, sweet-smelling salve that we're planning to tuck into stockings later this month! 

Salve

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