Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Olive Oil Story

There was some discussion about Olive Oil for soapmaking in our class this weekend.  I thought I would go straight to the horse's mouth so to speak when I post this.  I checked out the USDA's website for the grade descriptions and this is what they say.

There are 3 types of Olive Oil:  Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and  Olive-Pomace Oil -

"Olive oil is the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree(Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in §52.1539 of these grade standards." 
"Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, including thermal conditions, that do not lead to
alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment
other than washing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration and
shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. No additives of any kind are
"Olive-pomace oil is the oil obtained by treating olive pomace (the
product remaining after the mechanical extraction of olive oil) with
solvents or other physical treatments, to the exclusion of oils
obtained by synthetic processes and mixture with oils of other
kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. Alpha-tocopherol is permitted
to restore natural tocopherol lost in the refining process for refined
olive pomace and olive-pomace oil. Maximum level: 200 mg/kg of
total alpha-tocopherol is permitted in the final product. "

The New Yorker posted about "The Olive Oil's Darker Side" In Feb 2012 http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/02/the-exchange-tom-mueller.html

Tom Mueller has done some extensive research on how corrupt this industry really is in his book called "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil"

The Truth In Olive Oil Website:  http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/

A Buyers Guide in the US for Olive Oil http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/great-oil/how-to-buy-great-olive-oil/

What's your take on it?  What do you think of grocery store olive oil/no brand name? Is it really olive oil at all?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Color Branding

Color Branding?  Sounds pretty good hmmm.. I came across this very cool graphic and since I am designing new website this should really come into play. My new website should be up and running before Oct 1. We'll be expecting some down time and I will announce it before we switch over. So look for it:  http://mossycreeksoap.com/  It will be very user friendly with some very cool new features-

Anyway-  this graphic... It discusses color and why it's so important in branding your product. I thought I would share this with you guys--

 I love this company: http://dailyinfographic.com/the-illusion-of-choice-infographic .  I think it's important to say that most people love pictures.. so here you go!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Infusing Herbs in Olive Oil

In my quest for receiving the ultimate benefit from herbs in soap, I began researching how to get the homeopathic benefit from these delicate herbs without losing out to the harsh realities of using lye to make soap.  Because Lye is sodium hydroxide (a caustic salt), it can be too harsh and destroy many of the good properties of the herbs. One way to retain them is to infuse them into an oil.

This method is simple, like making tea but we are using oil instead of water. So that we may use the oil in our soaps, herbal salves and balms.

Let's get started on how you can create your own herbal infusions.

Step 1-  I use regular pint sized wide mouth canning jars with the lids.

Step 2- Gather your dried herbs and place them into sealable tea bags
I used about 2-3 tablespoons

Step 3-  Iron them closed

Step 4- Place sealed tea bag into the jars and pour olive oil over the tea bags
till 3/4 full and lightly tighten the lid
(do not over tighten lid until it's pulled out of the water bath when it's complete).

Step 5- Place jars into canning pot and fill with water till jar is surrounded by water but not touching the lid.

Step 6- Simmer on low for a few hours, after about 1 hour, check to see if the oils 
have changed colors. You may need to steep them a little more or less.  
It will depend on the herbs you are using.

Step 7-  Remove them from the hot water carefully, I use my canning tongs to pull them out. 
Let them sit a while to cool off. 

There you have it! 
 A gorgeous herbal infused oil that you can use in your soap, herbal salves and balms.