I love the sunny orange flowers of calendula; they brighten a cold winter’s day and warm the senses.
A good way to preserve their orange glow is to make infused oil. It is very easy to make.
Once you have made this vibrant infused oil you can use it to soothe and heal minor wounds, itchy, inflamed skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and nappy rash. It is also useful for stings, burns, bruises and cradle cap. It can also be used as the base for lip balm, creams and ointments.
While I do not usually measure the ingredients, I have given a guide below. While I do not usually measure the ingredients, I have given a guide below, but do not worry too much about the amounts.
Calendula Infused Oil
- 1½ cups dried or fresh calendula flowers
If using fresh flowers, pick after the morning dew has dried and partially dry. This can be done overnight on a towel in an airy spot or in a dehydrator set at 30°C for a couple of hours.
- 2 cups cold pressed sunflower oil to cover
You can use any good quality oil you like. I use sunflower because it has the same shaped flower and is from the same family, Asteraceae.
Loosely pack a clean sterilized jar with calendula flowers.
Pour oil over flowers and cover completely.
Seal with a tight fitting lid.
Place in a warm dark place for 2 weeks.
Strain through cheesecloth squeezing gently.
Pour into a sterilized amber bottle.
My favourite method:
To hasten the infusion process use a yoghurt maker. Pick a jar that fits comfortably into the yoghurt maker, add your calendula flowers and oil and seal well. Fill the yoghurt maker with hot tap water or near boiling water up to the top of the red plastic interior tray. Place your filled jar into yoghurt maker ensuring the water level does not reach the lid of the jar. Screw on the yoghurt maker’s lid and sit overnight or all day. Put fresh hot water to keep oil warm. This can be done for 3-5 days. Strain and store as in original recipe.
If you want your infused oil quicker you can do it in a double boiler. I use my steamer saucepans and place a wide bowl on top. Put the calendula flowers and oil into the bowl.
Put some water in the bottom saucepan and bring it to the boil, turn the heat down. Place the bowl on top of the top saucepan. The water in the bottom needs to simmer very gently for 3 hours, keep an eye on the water in the saucepan to make sure it does not evaporate. Stir the calendula oil at regular intervals. Strain and store as in original recipe.
Tips and Hints
The better quality oil you use the better the finished product. I would not use oil on my skin that I wouldn’t put in my mouth!!
Oils do deteriorate, and even though you have bought high quality oil, if it has not been stored properly or kept too long chances are it is no longer good oil.
Light, Heat and Air all contribute to oils oxidizing or going rancid.
Many recipes for infused oil recommend placing your jar of infused oil in the sun to infuse. I personally prefer to keep it away from the sun as light will speed up the oxidation of the oil. If you wish to use the sun’s warmth to gently infuse your oil, wrap it in a towel or a dark paper bag to exclude light.
If using the quick method in a double boiler or steamer, be careful not to overheat the oil.
When pouring off the finished product I prefer to use a few smaller amber jars, rather than one large one. This reduces exposure to air and light each time it is opened to be used.
Store your infused oils in a cool dark place.
Next time I will share my Calendula ointment recipe with you.