Easy DIY Holiday Gifts ~ Calendula & Rose Sugar Body Scrub
In the summer here at Dharma's Garden, we revel in the seemingly never-ending blossoms of the gorgeous calendula flower. Her bright yellow and orange blossoms are such a visual delight that she shares with us all summer long and well into the autumn, long past the fading blossoms of larkspur, lilies, and yarrow. Children love to pop off the calendula flowers to collect on our nature walks through the garden, gently pulling off the yellow and orange petals for a splash of color delight in their morning tea. What we don't use for fresh tea in the summer we set to drying in our dehydrator, or place in coconut oil or olive oil to infuse. (Since you're here, please Help Us Save Dharma's Garden!)
This leaves us with a gorgeous splash of color waiting for us in the early winter when we prepare sugar body scrubs for holiday gifts with the calendula-infused oils. Besides her vibrant color, calendula offers healing qualities when used in a salve for rashes, scrapes, and wounds. Infusing oils with calendula blossoms gives you a healing balm base that you can add to any number of homemade products, including body scrubs, lip balms, body butters, or hand salves. How to infuse calendula in oils: (Note: this process of infusion takes 4 to 6 weeks, but you could speed it up with a heated method described here).
If picking fresh calendula blossoms, be sure to keep the whole bud intact. The medicinal properties are traditionally known to be held mostly in the sticky green bud at the base of the flower, so be sure to keep the bud intact. I leave the petals on the buds that I put in oil to infuse. But I also pull off a jar or two's worth of petals to dry separately (this will be included in the recipe below too) that I don't infuse.
When using fresh calendula blossoms, you must let them dry completely before putting them in oil; otherwise you risk molds or bacteria growing on the blossoms!
Spread the blossoms out on a screen and let the fresh calendula blossoms dry in a dark, indoor space for a couple weeks, or dry them more quickly in your dehydrator on a LOW setting for 12 to 24 hours.
If you don't have fresh calendula blossoms, then purchase them from your favorite local apothecary. We love Rebecca's Herbal Apothecary and you can get your calendula blossoms right there. Bonus, they're already dried!
Fill a glass jar with your dried calendula blossoms, leaving about 2 or 3 inches of space at the top of the jar.
Pour the coconut oil (heated to liquid form) or olive oil over the dried blossoms, trying to cover them completely by the oil. Add extra oil to cover an extra inch or so above the top blossoms (the blossoms will float, so add oil to the top and then cover with lid). Try to eliminate air space in the jar to reduce risk of oil going rancid.
Close the lid of the jar tightly.
Let the calendula blossoms sit in the oil for several weeks, about 4 to 6.
After that time, strain the blossoms out of the oil and keep the now calendula-infused oil in a capped glass jar, in a dark, cool indoor space until you're ready to make your sugar scrubs or salves with it! If you used coconut oil, you'll need to gently heat the oil enough to get it into liquid form so you can strain out the blossoms (but not too hot to disturb the healing properties). See below!
Calendula Foot Scrub
1.5 cups calendula-infused coconut oil 1.5 cups olive oil 6 Tablespoons calendula petals 4.5 cups raw sugar
3 cups pink Himalayan sea salt Your choice of essential oils; we like the brightness that comes from oils in the citrus family: bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit, and lemon Tools:
Sauce pan with water
Silicone spatula or spoon
Large mixing bowl
Glass jars with lids for end product
Paper towels or cloth for wiping edges of glass jars
The calendula-infused coconut oil (or just regular coconut oil if you didn't infuse it) is typically solid at room temperature (unless you're in the middle of a blazing hot summer day at the moment, in which case your coconut oil might be liquid already!). This means we'll need to gently melt the coconut oil into liquid form without getting it so hot that the calendula healing properties would be disturbed or cooked out. I set my glass jar filled with calendula-infused coconut oil in about 3 inches of water in a saucepan and then I heat this on the stove at a medium-low temperature.
Pour the melted calendula-infused coconut oil into your large mixing bowl, and add the olive oil to it.
Stir together the two oils while adding your essential oils. I always feel that it takes quite a bit of essential oil to get the scent to really infuse the oil, so don't be shy. Also, remember that you'll be adding a lot of bulk to this oil which will further diminish the strength of the scent. Keep adding your essential oils until you find the scent to be enjoyable and easy to detect when you stir the oil.
Add the calendula petals to the oils and stir.
Add the sugar and salt to the mixture, and stir.
Here is where you can add more essential oils if the scent has faded. Also, add in additional salt or sugar until you get the desired texture which for me is an oily (but not liquid-y) slurry.
Now, scoop portions of the scrub you've made into glass jars with lids, and wipe the outside of jars with paper towels. Tie a little ribbon around the jar and your holiday gift is ready!
Rose Body Scrub
Follow instructions above, substituting dried rose petals for the calendula petals, and rose oils for the citrus oils.
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