Monday, April 6, 2015

Coconut Oil Soap

Ever since I first read about properties of different oils for soap making and found information that even though large amount of coconut oil in soap can be drying for the skin, it is still possible to make a good, nondrying Coconut oil soap, I wanted to try making one myself.

Some of my soap making buddies even make 100% Coconut oil soap without lye discount and they swear that it's the best soap for the laundry. I didn't want to use so much Coconut oil for a laundry soap, because it's not a very cheap ingredient here in Greece, but I decided to make a small batch of Laundry soap with 50% Coconut oil and 50% Lard. While I was at it, I figured i could try making a small batch of 100% Coconut oil soap with the remaining 250 g of oil I had left.

Friday, April 3, 2015

How to Prepare Lard for Soap Making

Why Lard?

As you probably know, I live in Greece, in the beautiful peninsula called Halkidiki. I would say the nature has been very generous here and provided us with sea, long sand beaches, clean drinking water, mountains covered in Pine, Oak and Chestnut forests. Hills and valleys are mostly covered with olive farms, some Apricot orchards and livestock farms that supply local butcher stores with meat. Halkidiki is also known for its tradition of beekeeping, which is mentioned by Aristotle in 4th century B.C. Today Halkidiki holds 10% of Greek honey production and it is most densely populated area in regards to beehives. There are 84 beehives per square kilometer in Halkidiki, while the average density of beehives in Greece, which ranks first in Europe, is only 11 per square kilometer.

 This area has also been blessed (or cursed) with the presence of gold, silver and magnesite, and therefore we have several operating mines as well as one (at Skouries location) that still haven't started mining, because they have been strongly opposed by our local community for years, due to immense danger they pose for our lives and the nature of Halkidiki, but also because of numeral transgressions by the company that has bought the mine for dimes with the help of corrupted politicians who were in government at the time. So, we try very hard to preserve the nature here, nature's balance is not just some abstract concept for us, it's literary the foundation of our survival, because everything, from olive farms, beekeeping and livestock farms to tourism depends on that balance. Our economy is mostly based on agriculture, beekeeping, fishing and tourism. You can imagine how the pollution or lack of clean water would affect those, not to mention air pollution.

So, I can say that yes, I am interested and invested personally in environmental issues. Having said that, I am not by default a vegan, and I'm not opposed to using lard for making soap. I've read a lot about lard before trying to render some myself and I am convinced that this is an amazing, cheap ingredient for soap.