This is a popular solution on the Internet for dry hands and I have hesitated to try it only because the hype just seemed out of proportion to the concept: dandelions in oil. (*yawn*) Don’t get me wrong, I love the springy look of a dandelion flower but I figured that the real love for this recipe was in the love for the flower, not in its therapeutic benefits. Then back in April when I found a big stand of dandelions in one of the high elevation meadows here, far earlier in the season than usual (thanks to the drought and early spring I expect), I did it. I made the salve and then took it on a trip to Las Vegas.
My hands were overly dry from a massive spring planting project here. After the forest fire “cleared” the south side of our property in September, I have begun planting sage and lavender on that acre. About forty plants are there now and I have plans to put in another hundred or more next spring. I have also been developing a massive rock garden at the entrance to our property and planted an assortment of fifty or more sages, artemesias, and lavenders there. These are both big projects and my back and feet have creaked and moaned. My hands have been completely trashed, even wearing gloves.
I made up the salve thinking it was the best opportunity to test it. I knew it would be better than nothing — the oils themselves would help.
The first time I rubbed it into my hands, I looked at them in disbelief because it did make such an immediate impact. I felt the moisture and relief immediately and then, it lasted.
Do you know that feeling when your hands are extra-dry and you just keep reapplying lotion or salve every hour or so? I didn’t do that. I made one application that day because it was all I needed. Whoa. OK. I can see why people rave about this salve.
The only tedious part of this project is picking the dandelions. If you are picking them from your front yard, just get on your hands and knees and crawl around picking them. Pick a couple of cups worth for a lot of salve — a heaping two cups. The harvest will go quickly enough that hopefully not too many neighbors will see you. Once you’ve worn yourself out from your harvest adventure, just put the flowers on a tray and dry them for a few days before making the salve. If you use the flowers fresh, they will add their own moisture to the salve and it simply won’t have the same shelf life. Wait it out for at least a few days to reduce their moisture content.
From this point, you’ll use your flower buds — all yellow and green parts — in the salve. You’re going to just pop those dried flowers right into the oil. Many culinary recipes out there require you to separate the flower petals out somewhat tediously but you can use the whole plant in the salve if you wish. The petals will impart a beautiful soft yellow color to the salve if you have included a lot of flowers in your harvest. The picture in this post was made from dandelion flowers and buds packed in oil.
A note on containers:
My favorite container for this project is the wide-mouth half pint jar by Ball. It holds a cup of the salve — not too much, not too little. More importantly: you can see the beautiful yellow color. This would be my top choice for gifting this item. You can also use traditional salve tins like this one. You can find much smaller volume containers which might fit better with your usage requirements.
A note on cooling:
If you are new to salves, be forewarned that if you upset or otherwise jiggle these containers before they are cool, you will have an unsatisfying look of “swish” in the top of your containers. The edges won’t be crisp and the top layer may not be flat, depending on how the containers move about. Especially if you are making these for gifts, you want to be ready for this problem. You would not want to pop these out right before dinner prep in your main kitchen area and then have to move them around. Make plans to pour the salve and simply allow them to sit wherever it is that you poured them.
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