I enjoy being able to add a little “extra” to the soaps I make. You would think that providing the goat milk would be enough, but sometimes I am a little #EXTRA and also include garden vegetables and herb infusions to make our soap even dreamier.
Last month, Lesley from Solway Farms shared some of her excess mint with us – in trade for some soap at a later date. The first step is to infuse some olive oil with this beautiful mint.
Dehydrating the mint
Using my brand new Hamilton Beach dehydrator, (affiliate link) I wanted to test which would work out better: I added some to the dehydrator tray while it was still on the stalk, and on a separate tray I picked the leaves first.
I set the controls on the dehydrator to 100° and 5 hours, and went about my day.
Later that evening, the mint was dried and ready for the next step.
(You can see I added the smaller, picked leaves to the special “herb tray” that was included with the dehydrator.)
Infusing the oil
First, I started a water bath in a large pot on the stove. I felt I had enough mint to infuse 3 quart-size jars of olive oil, so I laid 3 jar sealing rings in the bottom of the pot. The rings keep the jars from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot, and allows for a more even heat distribution.
I divided the mint into these 3 jars, and then filled them with Olive Oil – leaving about 1″ of headspace. (Although these jars will not be “canned,” I wanted to be sure that the oil had plenty of room to bubble and expand during the heating process.)
I set the jars on the sealing rings, filled the pot with water, and then turned the burner to low heat. I let the mint steep in the heated oil for about 3 hours, and then I turned off the burner, carefully added a sealing lid and ring to the top of the jars, and let them sit overnight.
The next morning, I removed the completely cooled jars, tightened the sealing rings, and set the jars in a warm corner of my soap room away from direct sunlight.
I’ve been shaking these jars a bit every day, and plan to do so for a few weeks. Stay tuned for the next steps in the process!
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