Inspired, as I’m sure so many blog entries are, by a friend’s post on Facebook (thanks Helen!), I decided to have a go at making dandelion salve. I’d already been leaving dandelions blooming around my garden, inspired (yes, again!) by posts about them being bees’ first food. The bees seemed to be satisfied enough with a more varied diet, so I felt no guilt about picking the happy blossoms.
Dandelions, famous for their diuretic properties – not-so-charmingly called pissenlit in French – are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Magnesium and zinc mean they are great for the skin. Potassium, iron, calcium, vitamins A and C and complex Bs also make appearances in this weed. With the whole plant edible, they surely are a superfood. The roots can be roasted and used in tea or as a coffee substitute, tender leaves may be added to salads, and the blossoms can be eaten or made into wine.
Dandelion infused oil, which forms the base of the salve, can be a reliever of sore muscles and aches and pains. With the addition of beeswax and coconut oil, it becomes a wonderful soothing way to moisturise dry, chapped skin.
As with any foraging, you need to be careful not to pick any plants that have been treated with pesticides or are in an area where animals may poop.
I looked at a few recipes for dandelion salve and chopped and changed a bit, based on the amount of blossoms I had. This is what I used:
- 250 ml olive oil, but feel free to use almond, jojoba or any other oil
- 25 g beeswax
- 25 g coconut oil
- dandelion blossoms
After picking the blossoms, I left them to dry on a towel on a tray. As this is a small city garden, the ‘crop’ wasn’t very abundant.
After a few days, they were fairly shrivelled.
I put them into a jar and covered them in the oil. I didn’t measure; I just added until the dandelions were covered, then a bit more. At this point, you can leave them for a few weeks in a cool, dark place (which is what I did) or speed up the infusion process by putting the jar into a pan of water, gently heating it to almost boiling, and then allowing the water to cool down with the jar in it. There are other methods of infusing that I came across (such as blitzing in a blender, then straining through cheesecloth) but this seemed simplest.
After you are satisfied the oil is infused enough (or when you remember it or have time to get back to it – take your pick), strain the now golden-hued oil, lightly pressing the flowers down in a sieve to squeeze out all that gorgeous oil. It has a lovely wild dandelion-y scent, but if you prefer an essential oil add a few drops.
When ready to make the salve, add the coconut oil and beeswax to a heatproof container. Sit it into a pot of simmering water. The photo below is before I realised that I needed to grate the beeswax so it would actually melt at about the same rate as the coconut oil.
When both are melted, slowly pour in the infused oil, where it will begin to beautifully emulsify. When all is mixed together, pour into sterilised jars or the containers you wish to use. Because the jars were hot, they sealed, which suited me.
The salve is a similar texture to coconut oil but absorbs into the skin without leaving any stickiness.
So far the results have been wonderful. It’s the only body moisturiser I’m using at the moment and even with more time gardening, in the sun, and in sandals, my skin is still very soft.
To read all about dandelions, see this.
I’ve made a delicious dandelion liqueur from this page. And here’s another recipe I’m looking forward to trying: Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea. Any other dandelion delicacies you’d like to share?