I didn’t write last week. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time, but rather because I couldn’t think of anything to write about. My husband prefers blogs about specifics, like “how to get a killer crop of mangoes”. We’re still working on that by the way. Or something about plant specifics, like “did you know clove oil is used to paralyze sick fish in order to treat them”. Yep, that one is true. While I see the appeal to that, I don’t always have a “how to”, because I simply don’t know. In an effort to lead a sustainable life, we’re learning as we go – what works, what doesn’t, what do we have time for, what will we do when we have more time, that kind of thing. It’s just simpler to write about what’s happening around the farm, but I do recognize that not everyone cares about what’s happening at our house every weekend. Shocker!
So here goes – happenings the past two weeks. There is a recipe of sorts in here, so maybe that’ll peak some interest. Currently, we’re in the heat of pineapple season. Of all the things we use our pineapples for, our family and friends enjoy the dried pineapple the most. We don’t do anything to the pineapple except cut it up in slices. We dry them both in our dehydrator as well as on the dry racks. It takes a little longer to dry on our dry racks, so we fill our dehydrator first, and then the rest go on the racks. We have an Excalibur Dehydrator. We purchased it many years ago, and it has served us quite well. In addition to the pineapples, we’ve dried spices, coffee bans, tomatoes, beef, fish, dragon fruit, just to name a few. It was somewhat of an investment, but I will say it has more than paid for itself over the years.
I also started a pineapple liqueur. Here’s the recipe part … It’s just cut up pineapples placed in a jar and top with vodka (see picture above, the liqueur starter is on left). Sometimes I use white rum, but the vodka was cheaper. For something like this, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on the liquor, as you’re going to be adding sugar to it in the end. It sits for about a month or so. I then strain the pineapples out, and add a simple syrup to it (this is to taste, so add what you like). That’s it. You can sip it plain over ice, or add club soda and lime as a mixer which is what I typically do.
I also made a batch of pineapple jelly and some pineapple/turmeric juice.
Today, I experimented making an awapuhi ginger/coconut soap. We grow awapuhi, which we like to use naturally. We just cut off a flower head and put it in our shower to use as a shampoo. As you gently squeeze the flower, this sappy soapy liquid comes out, and I mean gently, because just picking the flower can get the juice flowing. It typically lasts a few days. It’s really gentle on your hair and skin, and has a very light fragrance. The flower doesn’t really look like a flower, see picture below.
Awapuhi grows in the summer. It’s dormant the rest of year. When we first had it, I assumed that the plant had died because everything was gone, the leaves, the flowers – it just all died. But the rhizomes are dormant underground, and in the summer, it starts to get leaves and then flowers. We have quite few flowers right now, so I picked 3 this morning, and at my husband’s suggestion decided to make soap. There is no recipe for this kind of thing anywhere. The closest thing I could find was a recipe for soap using pumpkin pulp. Most soaps use a liquid like water or a milk, and oils. When squeezed, awapuhi is sticky and soapy, and I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to work. The pumpkin soap recipe was the only one I found that added another substance besides an herb or a flower, so I thought it must be possible to do this. I mixed the coconut oil with the awapuhi liquid, and then blended it together before I mixed it with the lye solution. Instead of water, I used coconut water from our coconuts. The lye turned the water a brown color, but as it’s saponifying (a fancy soap term I learned for the process by which soap chemically hardens), it’s starting to turn a nice cream color. It looks like it’s going to turn okay, but I’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out if that’s the case.
I really like experimenting with soaps and utilizing the various plants we have in our farm. I get quite a few requests for my soap, but it takes time for the soap to get ready before one can start using it, so I’m not keeping up with the requests very well. Plus I always sample it myself to make sure I’m not going to burn anyone with my concoction! So far so good. I’m also trying to keep it natural with no artificial additives to color it or make it smell nice. I’m even staying away from essential oils unless I make them myself. I made a large batch of the awapuhi soap and am crossing my fingers it comes out useable. I’m hoping one day to eventually sell it, but for now my family and friends are the guinea pigs to my soap making experiments.