Thursday, April 5, 2012

Experimenting with Infusions

It seems a lot of people are on an 'all natural' kick lately. I must confess that I am among them. I've stocked my cupboards with a few more essential oils and am eager to learn about blending them. I've also been curious about infusing olive oil with botanicals and spices for that all natural colourant. In the past I've infused both calendula and patchouli, but neither of those brought any colour to the mix. So yesterday, after reading Amanda's Lovin Soap blog posting on infusing oil with herbs and spices, I pulled out my crock pot and whatever I could find that I thought sounded interesting and got to work. To each jar I added 5 ounces olive oil and approximately 1 tablespoon powder/spice/seed. Then I placed all of the jars in the crock pot, added water to just below the lid rims and turned the heat to the warm setting for about 5 hours.

This is what I ended up with. On the top curry powder, paprika and red hibiscus flower; on the bottom annatto seed, alkanet powder, juniper berry and indigo powder. 

Now obiously some of these infusions did not impart colour.
  • The curry powder surprised me - very slight deepening of colour. 
  • Paprika gave a very nice orange colour - can't wait to try that one.
  • Red hibiscus flower, crushed - nothing.
  • Annatto seed - those puppies are next to impossible to crush! Nice yellow colour. This is the second time I've infused annatto, but last time it was in a double boiler on the stove top.
  • Alkanet powder - purple-ish. Second time I've infused alkanet as well, last time in the double boiler, but I've used most of it and wanted some more. 
  • Juniper berry - crushed, no colour, very fragrant - wonder if it will come through in soap.
  • Indigo powder - very rich blue. 
Looking forward to using these in some soap batches!

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