KAYSVILLE - Long after your garden goes to sleep for the winter, you can still wear the scent of it on your skin.
This month’s Explore the Garden Family Night, sponsored by the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville, will teach attendees how to make goat’s milk soap scented with flowers and herbs from their garden. Set for Aug. 25 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Utah House, the event will also show attendees how to make their own scented lip balm.
“We’re always trying to get people interested in the gardens,” said Jayne Mulford, who helps organize the garden nights. “Goat’s milk soap is a good craft, and it’s got a great tie-in to plants.”
Making your own goat’s milk soap is a long, messy project, which means that the entire process won’t actually be demonstrated at the garden night. The expert will explain the entire process, however, and will bring larger blocks that she will chop up at the presentation and give away as samples.
“She’ll demonstrate the process of cutting it up and packaging it,” she said.
The soap can be scented with either tea or a variety of essential oils, including mint and lemongrass. If you want to use plants directly from your garden, it’s easy to make herb-or flower-infused oil that can then be used in either the soap or lip balm recipes.
According to the website diynatural.com, you can make your own infused oil using a crock pot or other slow cooker (recipe is shown below). Since moisture can make the oil spoil, make sure to dry either the herbs or the flowers before using them.
As for the other ingredients you’ll need to turn the oil into body care products, Mulford said that the garden night will be able to fill in all those details.
“I’m sure she’ll be able to tell us where she gets her supplies, including the goat’s milk and the lye,” she said. “We’ll have handouts on the whole thing.”
The cost is $3 per person, or $10 for a family of up to six people. In addition to the soap sample, attendees will make their own beeswax lip balm to take home. Organizers require attendees to register in advance so that they have enough materials for everyone.
“You’ll be leaving with a few samples and a whole lot of knowledge,” said Mulford.
For more information or to sign up for the event, visit eventbrite.com/e/explore-the-garden-family-night-botanical-soaps-tickets-9772252069 or go to usubotanicalcenter.org and search for the event under the “classes and events” link.
Slow Cooker Method for Herbal Infusions
(recipe by diynatural.com)
1. Place a hand towel in the bottom of your slow cooker. This serves to keep the direct heat off jars and promote more even heat distribution, as well as cushioning jars from bumping the pot which could cause chips and breakage. Fill slow cooker about half way with water. Turn slow cooker on “warm” setting to preheat.
2. Prepare herbs by gently rubbing between your palms before adding to a glass mason jar. Fill jars 1/3 – 1/2 of the way with herbs, then cover with oil, leaving at least one inch of headspace in your jars. Stir the herb/oil mixture in each of your jars to cover herbs with oil and release any air bubbles.
3. Cap jars and place into slow cooker on top of the towel. Allow oils to infuse for 8-12 hours on your slow cooker’s lowest setting. Temperature should remain between 100° – 120°. You may want to check the temperature every few hours, turning off the slow cooker for a bit if needed. Stir or gently shake jars a few times during the infusion process. (Hint: If you have a dehydrator with temperature controls or a yogurt maker, you can also use these appliances to infuse your oil.)
4. Once herbs have been infused, turn off slow cooker and allow to cool to room temp. Strain herbs/flowers out using a tea towel or several layers of unbleached cheesecloth. Compost or discard the spent herbs.
5. Transfer your infused oils to clean glass jars or bottles and cap tightly. (Find glass bottles here.) Label your jar with 1) the type of oil used, 2) herb it was infused with, and 3) date. Protect your herbal oils from heat and light by storing in a cool, dark place. Your oils may last a year or more if stored properly.