Around Christmas, we had a lot of Mandarin oranges around, so it seemed like the perfect time to try an infusion. I have infused vinegar with the flavor of fresh herbs, a great result and really quite easy. I was reading about infusing vinegar with orange peels for homemade cleanser and thought I could do the same with oil. So, I started saving the peels of oranges and air-drying them on the counter. More moisture in the peels means more possibility of mold/bacteria in the infusion, so I let them all get very dry and crispy. Shortly after New Years, I packed a jar with the peels and covered them with olive oil. I had a bag of dried rose buds and tried one with those, as well, because rose essential oil is outrageously expensive!
Six weeks later, they are suppose to be finished. I can note a colour change in the oils and, sure enough, once I strained out the peels, the orange/olive oil has a light citrus scent. Now, in our goats milk soap process, we keep everything as cool as possible - to avoid scorching the milk and keeping all the 'good stuff' that milk offers to the skin. I think that I will keep the infused oil to add at the very end of the process: if the recipe calls for 900 grams of olive oil I will make the soap with 3/4 of that in regular oil and then add 1/4 of the infused oil at the very end of the process, when I add the essential oil. I think I'll grind up the peels, once they dry, and add them for fragrance and exfoliation. I have purchased a '5 Fold' lemon essential oil, which is suppose to be much stronger, so I'll make a citrus soap with not just an orange essential oil but the lemon, as well. Maybe I should acquire some grapefruit essential oil before I do this.
I'm just about to strain the olive oil/rosebud concoction. It has a nice rose fragrance, but the rose buds seem very soft - I may not be able to grind them to use in the soap, but I can use more of the plain, dried buds. Should make for some interesting experiments in the kitchen! What's your favorite fragrance for a soap?