At HiBar Ranch and farm we make lots of value added products for sale and for family with our farm resources. Running an apiary, dairy goat, fiber, meat, egg and wood milling operation affords us a wide array of base materials to make and sell value added items.
Yesterday I made Calendula salve for family with surplus for our store. Along with that I made numerous other products from our surplus wax and honey. This is a tutorial on what you can do at home.
CALENDULA SALVE MAKING ~
First, a little bit about calendula medicinally. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is known by such names as marigold, pot marigold, goldbloom and golds. It has been used for centuries as a culinary and medicinal plant. The ancient Romans named this plant Calendula because they noticed that it was blooming on the first day of every month (calends), thus getting to the word calendar. The genus name Calendula is a modern Latin diminutive of calendae, meaning “little calendar”, “little clock” and “little weather-glass”. It was a symbol of joy and happiness in their gardens, and because it provided them with a continuous supply of flowers and tender leaves, it was used regularly for cooking and in medicine. Calendula contains many effective compounds. Ancient cultures recognized and used the healing properties of calendula. In some of the earliest medical writings, calendula was recommended for treating ailments of the digestive tract. It was used to detoxify the liver and gall bladder. The flowers were applied to cuts and wounds to stop bleeding, prevent infection and speed healing. Calendula was also used for various women’s ailments, and to treat a number of skin conditions. During the Civil War, calendula flowers were used on the battlefields in open wounds as antihemorrhagic and antiseptic, and they were used in dressing wounds to promote healing. Calendula also was used in this way during World War I. Calendula has been historically significant in medicine in many cultures, and it is still important in alternative medicine today. Our whole family works very hard on the farm and our hands get really chapped, dry, cut and sore. Calendula salve works like nothing we have ever purchased and is a necessity for any homesteading family. So, I highly recommend this treatment for your family’s chapped, cut, sunburn or wounds.
Prep for Salve Making ~
First you need to collect your calendula from your garden and let it wilt for 12 hours to remove the moisture so the oil does not go rancid. Then place the flowers in a clean dry glass jar with organic olive oil for a minimum of two months. I did this over the course of the summer. Strain the herbs with cheesecloth and then pour the infused oil into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place until you are ready to make your salves.
Next, you collect your wax. I am using two different methods. I have my own wax from my hives already in blocks and then I am also cleaning/processing wax I have left over from my hive clean ups. I will show you how to render your wax to clean it for salve making.
Of course you can buy wax. But, I use our own from our hives since we are an organic operation across our bees, garden produce, dairy, eggs and meat on our farm.
To render the wax you want to separate the wax from all of its impurities. Please note that wax is very flammable so you must take great care in executing this process.
I set the temperature of the oven to 170 degrees and place a pan in the oven with water in it. On top of that pan I place a strainer and paper towel. On top of that I place the wax to be rendered and let it slowly melt into the pan over the course of about four hours. You never want to heat the wax over 200 degrees. This is the slow and safe way to do it. You can then collect the clean/rendered wax from the water pan below and viola – rendered wax.
Here are pictures to show you the process.
That is how simple that process is.
Back to salve making.
You want to first prepare your jars that the salves will go into.
The next step is to put the calendula infused oil into a double boiler set up on your stove and lightly heat it then add the wax. I simply use the below process. To know how much wax to oil to use, the rule of thumb is six parts infused oil to one part wax for really soft salves and four parts infused oil to one part wax for really hard salves. So, I use five to one for the perfect salve for chapped hands and limbs.
Above you can see the process of adding wax shavings to the infused oil that is inside of one metal bowl that is sitting inside another metal bowl with water in it.
Once this melts together you pour it into the jars.
Then you wait for the medicinal salve to form up/harden up.
That is how simple it is to make organic calendula salves with some of nature’s most healing properties.
But, like all things homesteaders do and organic niche product companies such as ourselves, there are numerous other products we make in this process. Here is a picture to show you.
As you can see above, there are five different products made in this process.
First, the ice cube tray is the collection of the dirty wax that are now formed up for firestarters we sell wrapped in cute ways for people who have wood stoves and want an easy storable firestarter. Remember, wax burns!! Second, is rendered wax we use and sell. This pile to the left will be melted down into blocks like the picture you see of a big block of wax earlier in this writing. Third, are the paper towels that was used in the oven to render the wax. This now becomes another form of firestarter that we also sell for survivalists who go into the back woods to camp. It stores very small in a pouch. Fourth, is honey that was extracted when I separated the wax from that first picture of wax in a milk jug. I did not show that step but inside that jug, was this honey and the wax around it was what I set in the oven. Amazing right? Honey does not spoil if stored in a dry place. And, this honey has been incased in the wax of the jug from this falls harvest and thus is as pure as it can get. And, of course, the fifth product here is the calendula salve made from our own organic calendula, organic olive oil and our own organic bees wax.
How is that for a productive value added SET of products.
This is the wonder of nature and being resourceful.
I hope you enjoyed this blog article and can see how you too can make and/or buy wonderful healthy products for you and your family.
God Bless! L. Davis