I usually call this plantain ointment, but the husband thinks "balm" sounds more soothing. And as this is some very soothing stuff, we'll go with that.
Plantain ointment, oops! I mean balm is good medicine for the skin, especially for those of us who work with our hands. Gardening hands, dry wood stove feeding hands, dog-walking in the cold without gloves hands. I like it for hang nails, too. It's fantastic for rough feet and of course it is so good for haemorrhoids that I'm tempted to call it "Preparation P.". But that just sounds weird, so I won't.
Generally I only make a small amount of this at a time and eyeball the amounts, but since these are samples to send out for feedback, I had a more professional, assembly line set up going on today:
|I am rarely this organized|
Paper towels, by the way, are your friends when messing about with oil and beeswax. Note the cheese grater in the background of the above pic. That is my dedicated beeswax grater. I don't even try to wash it, it would be nigh on impossible. I use the coarse side to grate the bars of beeswax. I am told that craft stores sell "beads" of beeswax - that sounds a lot easier! - but grating isn't too difficult really. Just go slow, always know where your knuckles are and no one gets hurt.
I also have a dedicated pot for making these balms. Second hand stores are also your friends when you're messing about with oil and beeswax. You want a good snug fit to your (in my case contrived) double boiler. Do not let that water boil, just barely hot is fine. Any escaping steam will add moisture to your balm and that messes it up.
In this case I used a cup of infused oil. When it got to just above body temperature, I added my wax a bit at a time, which as you can see here was in the tin pie plate near by. I use my finger to stir - that is not as alarming as it seems if you're careful. If it is too hot for your finger, it is too hot for the infused oil; you'll lose some of that herbal goodness.
|I'm so glad I cleaned my stove before doing this. If I hadn't, there is no way I'd have let Paul take these pics.|
I tested the consistency by dipping a butter knife in and letting it cool briefly. The whole process only took a few minutes. All told, I used almost but not quite an entire bar of beeswax.
|Note the raised pinky of the left hand. Always the lady!|
|No more than 10 minutes later, they're solidifying nicely. That's some more plantain oil in the foreground, for the next batch.|
As you can see, it's a pretty simple operation, just a bit fiddly. Clean up, I won't lie, is the worst part. But if you wipe everything down with paper towels first and use super hot water, it's not so bad.
Now if anyone would like a sample, just let me know.