Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Experiment: Infused Beet root in olive oil [Natural Soap Colorant]

Wandering around the gardens this morning, nibbling on a teaser first-pickings of raspberries, I really did my best to ignore some of the rows of plants that were needing my attention for weeding and thinning. 

I've never planted beets before -- I don't like them;  but we had plenty of garden space this year in the lower garden, so we planted a couple of rows for my in-laws. 


Alright.  I'll be honest.  I've never TRIED them---but, I dunno.  I think my brain has been wired to an instinctual dislike for them; they have a unique smell, and turn EVERYTHING rosy-red.


They turn everything rosy-red!

After a 10 minute power-search on "infusing beet root to color soaps naturally," I knew that beet root POWDER could be used as a natural colorant, but I didn't come up with down-n-dirty DIY tutorial on infusing actual beet roots in oil.
Rather than burning up any more time on the computer, the next half hour was spent thinning out and weeding our two rows of beets.  When they were planted, I took care to place 2-3 seeds together every 2-4 inches;  and wouldn't you know it??  Just about 100% germination occurred!

Thinned beets
The beet-thinnings were rinsed, and my workspace organized...

No measurements were taken, but a small 4 oz. jar was filled about halfway with olive oil, and I had...... a "couple fist-fulls" of beet-thinnings.  That'll have to suffice for the experimental measurements.

The beet roots were trimmed off, and then any amount of bulb and stem that was red was chopped up and placed into the jar of oil.

It didn't take long for me to swap out the small 4 oz. jar for a pint far;  I underestimated the amount of roots and partial-stems I actually had.  Also, of course, hindsight is always 20-20;  as I neared the end of my chopping, I made a "DUH" face, and thought..."why on earth am I trimming the roots off? After all, the researching mentioned beet ROOT powder....", so into the jar they went!

The aftermath:
1/3 pint of chopped beets, topped off with olive oil,
a small bowl of beet leaves that will either be enjoyed by myself or my husband in a salad, or given as a snack to my chickens or pigs,
and a beet-stained cutting board (currently soaking)

At this point, the jar will be covered.  It will either sit out in the sun for a few weeks, given a shake-shake from time to time, with the hopes of infusing some of the color in the oil OR, theoretically, it could be boiled in a hot-water-bath to speed up the process. 
Right now -- it's on the table in the sun :D

Will it naturally color soap?  Is it going to be finicky, therefore I should only use in a rebatch?
Stay tuned!

This whole experiment has given me a bonus to boot:  my beet rows in the garden are thinned AND weeded!


gayle said...

This will be interesting.
In the meantime, mmmmmm... beet greens....

Kevin the Quilter said...

OK..........I want a photo of you in your science lab coat, and goggles!