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.
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.