Confessions of a Soap Foodie

We’ve talked about adding milk and herbs to soap, but what about vegetables and fruit?  Perhaps you add a few other foods, as well.

In my soapmaking adventures, I’ve added many.   Cucumber is a mainstay;  it’s cooling effect a real favorite for myself and others.  Others I’ve used include, in no particular order:  strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, zucchini (and who doesn’t need another way to use zucchini?), tomatoes, apples, egg yolks, and pumpkin.  As if that’s not enough, I’ve got pureed carrots in my freezer at this very moment,  just waiting their turn.

Why do I add them?  I add them for a few different reasons, such as the texture they add, the “good stuff” in the food, and even as a marketing tool.  If it adds a cleansing or cosmetic feature to my soap, it’s fair game.  Medical claims, of course, are off-limits.  The color they add is sometimes a plus, but not always.

Let’s take, for example, the cucumber soap I spoke of previously.  I prefer to scoop out the seeds, but leave the rest intact, and find that the specks of peel lend a lovely effect to the soap, as well as making it feel fresh and clean.  Soap is even more delightful with cukes.

Are you a fan of adding foods to your soap?  What do you add, and why?

Comments

10 Responses to “Confessions of a Soap Foodie”
  1. Dawn Jones says:

    I have added the same fruit you have added along with pear puree. I started with fresh fruit, then I tried the dried organic fruit pulp such as blueberry pulp and pumpkin pulp. I have tried tea for the added interest and texture, fresh cucumber puree and fresh carrot puree. Today I am geared to make baked apple soap. I have apple liquor, apple cider, fresh apples, and baked apple fragrance. I go into an artistic zone when I make soap, so I have no idea what I may add into this soap. Sometimes I add the fruit to go with the fragrance, such as strawberries in strawberry shortcake soap, or or the look I try to accomplish. In the past, when I added pear fragrance oil and pureed pears, the soap smelled more like alfalfa. I changed the name to Peaceful Pastures instead of a pear name. Another veggie or two I want to try is cabbage and/or turnip. Do you think it will smell like cooked cabbage? I sure hope not! For inspiration of this new soap, I have a turnip teapot, fake decorative turnip, cabbage fabric with green and pinkish colored cabbage. I haven’t decided where to go from here. The complete idea and inspiration will eventually hit me. LOL

    Dawn Jones
    http://www.custercottage.com

  2. SavonTalk says:

    Pear! Sounds terrific. I can just see you “in the zone.” It’s interesting, though, that you end up with an alfalfa scent. I can’t imagine why, but it’s a good thing that’s a pleasant smell!

    You are adventurous, planning for turnip and cabbage soap. I might suggest using only about 25% of those veggies, at least for the first batch, just in case.

    I have to say that none of the fruits and veggies I’ve added have negatively affected the scent of the soap, but I often limit the percentage.

    Happy soaping!

  3. Dominique says:

    Hi Beth!
    I’ve never made soap before and came upon this website while looking for help regarding the use of fresh herbs in soap. I’m absolutely desperate for assistance as I planted the most incredible garden this year and despite having several herbs that are perennials, I hate to see them go to waste. I live in Southern NJ which is Zone 7 and right now our weather took a dive into the 60s and is supposedly heading into the 40s by the end of this week then coming back up to the 90s. This is not good news for one of my herbs in particular, lemon verbena, which can get “dropsy” (where it will drop all it’s leaves and go dormant) with any temperature change. So, my issue is I have all these amazing herbs: lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon thyme, bergamot, lavender, rosemary, hyssop, basil, and even nasturium flowers that I’d love to use in soaps/lotions/lip balms/body scrubs/ body butters, but I’m getting mixed signals all over the internet. Some sites say you can’t use fresh herbs and others say you can. Since I’ve never done it before and have no idea what I’m doing, I really need some guidance. Could you give me some advice and direction before I lose all of my herbs to a cold snap?
    Thank you so much!

  4. SavonTalk says:

    Dominique, your garden sounds like a wonderful place! I am glad to report that you can indeed, use your herbs in your products. Generally speaking, you can infuse them in either water or oil or dry them and powder them in a coffee or herb grinder and use them that way. Some herbs can be pureed and added to soap. One of my favorite soaps, in fact, uses pureed tomatoes, zucchini, and basil as part of the water amount.

    It’s hard to be too specific, for this is a wide topic and I don’t know your skill level, but I can speak in general terms. I rarely infuse fresh herbs in oils unless I’m using them right away for soap. Making a tea with them is a time-honored method for adding herbs to soap. If you dry herbs, which is a great method for preserving many of them, Keep your amounts low in soap, no more than 1 tablespoon per pound so your soap doesn’t get too scratchy. Make sure they are finely ground and sifted.

    For other products, the spector of spoilage becomes much more of a factor, so more care must be taken in their use. Infusing dried herbs in oils is safer than fresh oils and care must be taken to remove any solids. Depending upon the product, a preservative (anti-microbial) must be added.

    If I might suggest that you try one thing at a time, exploring how to use it, you will end up with a full body of knowledge to apply to your hobby. The herbs you mentioned, with the exception of Nasturtium and basil dry well.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Hi, i just ran across this discussion while researching adding fruits and veggies to soap. I have been making full goat milk soaps for a few years and would like to add more skin benefits with fruits and veggies. I have never tried any of it for fear of it spoiling. So my question is, does it spoil if it is fresh puree? Is it better to dehydrate them first and then add them? And how do you calculate how much to add? Sorry i guess that was more than one question, lol!

  6. Funmi says:

    Thanks for the lovely tips, more shared more gained..I used to use plain bar soap and most times I search for expensive once to remove pimples and black heads then a friend told me how much soap mixtures worked for her…so I tried it mixing eggs lime honey into my pounded soap and the first time I did use it I was white from d bathroom clean and fresh after some days those pimples where no more to be found..I even spent less on soap this days because the mixture increases the quantity and quality..Alsop started making home scrub for skin with cucumber..this natural methods really works like magic..God made them for Us…Am saving more and spending less to look good these days

  7. SHARON says:

    SAME QUESTION AS REBECCA, PLEASE! I, too, am desperate!
    “Rebecca says:
    December 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm
    Hi, i just ran across this discussion while researching adding fruits and veggies to soap. I have been making full goat milk soaps for a few years and would like to add more skin benefits with fruits and veggies. I have never tried any of it for fear of it spoiling. So my question is, does it spoil if it is fresh puree? Is it better to dehydrate them first and then add them? And how do you calculate how much to add? Sorry i guess that was more than one question, lol!”

  8. SavonTalk says:

    Sharon, it’s quite easy to add fruits and veggies to soap. The trick comes in learning how much to add. Generally speaking, if the product is very high in acid, I limit the amount I use to a very small percentage, no more than 5%. If the food contains a high amount of seeds such as raspberries and strawberries, I limit the amount to no more than 25%. The highest percentage I’ve ever used is 50% for pumpkin and cucumber. The soap itself preserves the puree; no added preservative is necessary.

    Tips:
    Make sure the fruit or veggie is very well pureed. Puree and pour through a sieve that will strain puree before adding to soap.
    Use puree as part of your water amount. For example, if your formula calls for 20 oz. of water and you decide to add pureed strawberries at 20%, use strawberries at 4 oz. and water at 16 oz.
    I make my lye water, mix it into the oils and then add the puree and proceed as normal.

    *Note: This is how I do it. You may see other variations, but this works for me, so this is what I feel comfortable sharing.

    Let us know how it works for you!

  9. Georgina says:

    How do I preserve the my body cream from getting spoilt and watery after adding the natural ingredients like cucumber, carrot and banana?

  10. SavonTalk says:

    Thanks for your very good question, Georgina. It is important to make safe products. Unfortunately, creams made with foods are very prone to spoilage as you have probably experienced. You’ll probably need more than one preservative and will benefit from lab testing of your product. I am not familiar with all of the preservatives and procedures in the UK, so I’m not much help; however, Jane Barber, who was interviewed for the Saponifier last year, is based in the UK and would be a great deal of help to you.

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