|Homemade salves make a great gift,|
especially when they are in Infinity Jars.
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My latest passion is working with herbs. I especially enjoy making salves using the highest quality ingredients I can find. My next step will be to grow some of these flowers myself but today I'm going to show you how to make a simple salve that you can use on sore or spastic muscles, nerve pain, arthritic pain, and more.
The most important thing is to use organic ingredients. Even though it is not to be used internally or on broken skin, this salve will be absorbed through the skin. I buy all certified organic herbs from Mountain Rose. I also like using organic extra virgin olive oil instead of coconut oil, probably because I'm Italian and I use olive oil for everything, and because it's easier to get consistent firmness. I also throw in a little jojoba oil (it's actually a wax) for added moisturizing and vitamin E as a preservative.
Instant Pot Does It Again
Just when I am convinced that I've discovered all the things my Instant Pot Electric Pressure cooker can do, I discover another one. It turns out that the yogurt setting and the slow cooker setting are perfect in the salve-making process!
* * *
Organic Pain Relief Salve
Do not use internally or on broken skin
[makes 8 ounces]
Requires a pint jar and top, an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, a scale, cheese cloth, small cosmetic jars, a pint or quart pyrex with pour spout (one that fits inside your Instant Pot).
1/4 ounce organic calendula flowers
1/4 ounce organic comfrey
1/4 ounce organic arnica flowers
1/4 ounce organic St. John's Wort
Everclear or vodka in a small spray bottle
1 1/4 cups organic extra virgin olive oil or more to cover
1 ounce beeswax*
1 tablespoon organic jojoba oil
1/4 teaspoon vitamin E
40 to 50 drops organic essential oils
* For a vegan salve, substitute carnauba wax
Clean the cosmetic jars thoroughly and dry completely. Set aside.
Carefully measure out your herbs. Break the flowers up with your hands (don't grind or they will be hard to strain out later).
Place the broken up herbs in a shallow pan and spray with Everclear or Vodka to open up the herbs. Let sit for 5 to10 minutes.
Place in a jar and cover with olive oil.
|You want to make sure that you end up with 1 cup after straining so you must allow some of the oil to be absorbed by the herbs.|
Some people let this mixture sit for weeks, but you can reduce that time dramatically if you heat the herbs at 100 degrees for 48 to 72 hours, stirring a few times a day. The yogurt setting on the instant pot is about 104 degrees so it's pretty perfect! I just set the jar of infused herbs directly on the bottom of the pot, hit YOGURT and set the timer for 72 hours (I didn't realize the pot timer went up that high!) Make sure you use a canning jar that can take the heat.
When it's done, lay several layers of sterile cheese cloth in a strainer and strain your herbs.
Now it's time to squeeze as much out of the herbs as possible into your pint or quart pyrex.
Just squeeze the balled up cheese cloth with your hand. As a little trick, I pulled out my potato ricer, which I never use for potato ricing, and put the ball of herbs in there for a good press.
Place an inch or two of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot and hit SLOW COOK. The water should get to around 220 degrees F. This beats having to mess with a double boiler.
Line up your cosmetic jars. When everything is ready to pour, you'll have no time to do this so do it now.
While the water is heating, measure out the beeswax. One ounce will make a firm salve. Use less if you want a looser salve. If you want a vegan salve, use carnauba wax. I have no personal experience with carnauba wax but I assume the amount needed is similar.
Place the beeswax in the pyrex of herb oil and place the pyrex into the pot of hot water being very careful not to get any moisture into the oil. The wax will slowly melt. Stir occasionally until all the wax is melted into the oil.
Quickly stir in the jojoba oil and remove from the heat. But before you remove it from the heat, you can drop a bit onto a piece of parchment to see if you like the hardness of the salve. If it's too stiff, add more oil. If it's too soft, add more beeswax. Throwing the sample in the freezer for a few minutes will speed up this test.
If you are happy with the firmness, remove from heat and quickly stir in the vitamin E oil and whatever essential oil drops you desire. I used a mixture of lavender, peppermint, and DoTerra Aroma Touch which all have relaxing properties and are good for sore muscles.
Once everything is mixed, quickly pour your mixture into the cosmetic jars before the salve starts to harden. Let the jars cool completely before you cover them.
Well, there you have it. Instant Pot Salve! Who knew?