How I made lettuce soap (long post)
For those who wanted to know how I made the soap, I first apologize for this extra long post as this was a 2 day process!
You can use lettuce with any standard soap recipe. First make an oil infusion. You can make an infusion with any type of oil however I used vegetable shortening with this particular recipe.
Day one, I picked and washed about 3 heads of lettuce. Don't worry about drying the lettuce off after washing because I add some water to the melted shortening to collect any access dirt and particles.
On the lowest setting of my electric stove top, I melted the veg shortening. The whole 48 oz tub and added a cup of water. Now my recipe calls for 28 oz base oil. I am going to loose some oil through evaporation and the straining process and wasn't sure how much I was going to loose so I melted the entire 48 oz tub of shortening. (I had 1 1/2 cups left over when finished) You may also use a crockpot on WARM setting to make infusion.
After shortening is melted and water added, lettuce washed, I started adding some of the lettuce to the pot and proceeded to cook on very low heat. Enough lettuce so that the pot of oil had about 1/2 volume of lettuce.
You do not want the oil or lettuce to scorch or burn so very low heat is the trick here. Stirring occasionally. After about 2 hours, I scoop the lettuce out with a slotted spoon onto a clean white dish cloth. You can use cheese cloth too. The lettuce has turned dark green and is wilted. Let the lettuce cool enough not to burn your hands (I wore my heavy rubber gloves here) and squeezed the access oil out of the lettuce back into the pot. (A press works excellent for this process)
Your oil is going to look a little sludgy and dirty, it will not appear like a nice clear oil. That's ok for now. I added more fresh lettuce to the pot and repeated cooking and straining about 3 more times until I had a nice thick lettuce infusion and my oil had a slight light green color. This process can take about 6 to 8 hours depending on how much lettuce you want to extract. Now that I have all the lettuce leaves strained from the oil, I added a few more oz of water and I let the pot cool off then put in the refrigerator to harden the shortening over night.
The next day I skimmed the shortening off the water carefully not to stir up the sledge sitting at the bottom of the water. Pat any access water off with paper towel.
And there I have my oil infused lettuce ready to make soap. Now I want to mention that not all herbs can be oil infused. Some herbs don't break down in oil and need water instead. This is a whole nother subject!
I use a crockpot on the WARM setting to make all my soap.
Here is my recipe:
24 oz distilled water
9 oz lye
Melt hard oils in crockpot:
28 oz lettuce infused vegetable shortening
14 oz coconut oil
8 oz palm oil
8 oz palm kernel flakes
2 oz shea butter
2 oz beeswax (optional)
When hard oils are melted, add liquid oils:
5 oz castor oil
3 oz avocado oil
After the cook, super fat with:
1 oz vegetable glycerin, 3 oz hemp seed oil, 2 oz more castor oil
Additives I used:
2 grams finely ground parsley,
1.5 oz bergamot and 2 oz geranium. (the amount of essential oils may vary depending on their strength and brand)
Put your safety gear on.
In separate container add lye to water, mix well until dissolved.
Put your hard oils in crockpot on low setting. (later use warm setting for cooking the soap)
When hard oils are melted, I turn off the crockpot and add liquid oils.
I don't worry about temperature of lye solution and oils with doing hp process but I don't mix them at super hot temps either.
When the lye solution has cooled down some, oh maybe about 140 F slowly add lye to oils while stirring (I use a whisk at this point)
I drizzle the lye solution in the oils and I repeat slowly here.
After the lye solution is added I switch to my stick blender and burst it on and off while constantly stirring until trace.
Once I have reached trace I turn the crockpot on the WARM setting.
My crockpot takes about 2 hours, other crocks will vary.
During this time, I see only slight changes during saponification.
Around the edge it gets a little bubbly and rolls up over it's self, just slightly.
Depending what type of oil your use, you might see a pool of oil form on top the batter. When this happens, I poke the batter with my whisk and if the batter appears hard, I don't stir at that point. I check it again in about 10 - 15 minutes and if the batter in the center breaks easy I give it a good stir with the whisk. During the 2 hour cook period I may only stir the soap once or twice. After 2 hours, it's time to test the soap. I stir it up good and let is set a few minutes. If I see oil pooling on the surface in the little crevasses it's not ready to tongue test. Cook the soap 10 - 15 more minutes, stir again and look for oil settling any where on the surface. When I don't see anymore oil pooling and my soap appears sort of like Vaseline, with my gloves on, I take a dab out, rub it in my fingers until cool and touch it to the tip of my tongue.
If I'm zapped, I'll cook a little longer and test about every 10 minutes. Once the soap is done I turn the crock off and add my super fatting oils mixing them well into the soap with my whisk or stick blender depending on how thick my batter is. Next I mix in my essential oils and pour the soap into my mold. This seems to make about 6 1/2 pounds of soap. I like to make my hp soap kind of wet and give it at least 2 weeks dry time. Although the soap is ready to use right away after cooking it's too soft. This soap turned out nice and hard after the dry time.
Keep in mind, I am new to making soap so I'm open to suggestions!