Kitchen Witchery

I always identified with people who called themselves kitchen witches, but I felt myself lacking because I’m no cook and have little interest in cooking. However, I’ve now discovered I adore working with herbs and making lotions, potions, salves, ointments, and such.  I even enjoy cleaning the kitchen after a craft, something I’m usually not motivated to do.

Meanwhile my wife has discovered the joys of rendering beef fat into tallow. The finished tallow is so white, so pure. It’s lovely to work with.

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Yesterday I made black salves with activated charcoal. It’s good for drawing the toxins from insect bites or bringing boils to a head.

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I also made lotion bars. These are divine! So divine, that I implore everyone to try. Here is a recipe:

  • 1/3 cup palm oil shortening (or tallow)
  • 1/3 cup beeswax
  • 1/3 cup mixture of oils of your choice (such as grapeseed oil, avocado oil, olive oil, apricot kernel oil)
  • drop of neem oil for preservative (optional — neem oil may be hard to get and does NOT smell good)
  • fragrance of choice

Gently heat the ingredients until melted. Then pour into molds (I used a muffin tin) and let set. The finished product should be fully solid. Simply rub it gently on your skin and your body heat will apply the moisturizer. Some recipes warn that it will seem oily at first, but I found it delightful. I made one batch with palm oil shortening and one with tallow and they are nearly identical.

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Today my sister is coming over to tackle the big project: soap. We’ll be doing a fairly simple cold-process soap to start with, as none of us have any experience with soap making. I have a feeling it will become addictive.

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