The Root

One gardener’s quest to get to the bottom of it all.

Straightforward Calendula Balm February 28, 2008

If you’re like me, you appreciate purity and simplicity in consumables and potions — peanut butter with two ingredients, for example: peanuts; salt. In other words, if I can picture the ingredients, I’m happy.

Along those lines, here’s a recipe for homemade calendula balm. Heads up, it’s a large one: It’ll fill two pint-sized jars. I have been salving my lips for months, and I’m pretty sure this same batch will see my daughter through her diaper-wearing years (she hasn’t had irritation once since we started balming her bottom).

Calendula is a popular ingredient in skin-soothing lotions and salves. Its flowers are bright orange-yellow and bloom beyond the first frosty days of fall. They were easy to grow here in central New Hampshire and are so colorful and full. After harvesting the flowers, I hung them from their stems to dry in a warm corner away from sunlight for a good two weeks.

Calendula blossoms and balm

Calendula Balm

500 mL sunflower oil (or olive oil)
150 grams or more thoroughly dried calendula blooms
This is a guesstimate — I used the entire harvest from 3 plants, or enough dried blossoms to almost fill a 700 mL jar.
60 g beeswax

Boil oil and calendula together in a double boiler, or a covered glass bowl over a pot of boiling water, for 2-3 hours. Add beeswax and stir constantly until melted, about 15 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth — or an old pair of pantyhose — into glass jars.

The balm is slightly grainy when cool and softens quickly on skin or lips. It has an earthy flavor like fresh-mown grass. Ahhhh, summer in the middle of winter.

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