Creating Oil Infusions with Carrots and Mangos

Back on May 20th, we were lucky to have Rebekah give us a guest post about Infusing Herbs into Oil. This topic on infusions has still been hopping on The Sage Soapmaker’s Forum. Today, I have another fun guest post on infusing Carrots and Mango.

Pat wanted to make an infused oil that would contain some of the wonderful properties from carrots, but she knew that it very important to only use dry botanical matter when making infusions. Pat has been kind enough to share pictures of her project. Enjoy her ingenuity and think of items you would like to infuse.

Pat stuck a butter knife in the freezer to place lip balm on for testing purposes. This is another way to use the “Plate Test” method. This method is very useful, but a butter knife doesn’t have to be in the freezer and you don’t even have to use a butter knife! Simply use a ceramic or glass plate (or other dish) and use a transfer pipette to drop one or two drops of the melted lip balm onto the plate. These drops of lip balm will cool very quickly. Rub your finger on the lip balm and then place the lip balm on your lips.

Give it a whirl and have fun! (Oh my, that was punny.)

And now …. I give you Pat!

A while back I infused some healing herbs into some fractionated coconut oil. My intent for this was to make a balm for those hard working hands that work in the garden. After infusing the oil I mixed it with some other ingredients and thought I had a recipe to start with. I used Powdered Honey and have since found out it does not dissolve in oil and left the balm somewhat gritty. One day while at work I really needed some lip balm and did not have any on hand, but did have the hand balm in my pocket so I put some on my lips and did it ever feel good. The powdered honey was gritty at first but melted into the balm and hence my lips. I subscribe to a crafters forum on Majestic Mountain Sage and they recently had someone ask about UV protection for soaps. In this forum it was mentioned that carrots infused in oil lends some Vitamin A to products. So I was on a mission!!

The following describes my path to making the carrot infused oil and then onto making my new lip balm. I have tested this lip balm…it was on my lips continuously for 3 days of planting my garden in the Western Colorado heat wave we just had.

I knew I wanted to infuse the oil with carrots but I know that using fresh produce or herbs can cause the oil to go rancid or grow fuzzy mold. So I knew I had to dry the carrots first. I took two hands full of baby carrots and added one mango that was sitting on my counter that most likely would not have been eaten anyway. I put the carrots and the mango into my juicer.

And the results are pulp separated from the juice.

Knowing that I wanted all the benefits from both the pulp and the juice I then mixed it all together.

After mixing it up I took out my trusted food dehydrator and placed the liner in the tray. After pouring the carrot/mango mixture onto this tray I then placed another tray on top of that one to keep the heat farther away from the juice as I didn’t want to take a chance at getting it too hot.

I put this under the dehydrator for about 3 hours. The mixture went from a beautiful, bright orange to a dull, brittle dirty orange! I gently pried all this from the liner and put it into a coffee grinder and ground it into a soft powder.

From powder form to oil form…I used 120 grams Rice Bran Oil and 45 grams of powdered carrot/mango. I placed this combination into a sterile canning jar and placed the jar into my crock pot for three hours. I used the “Keep Warm” setting, without the lid, and the temperature held at a steady 115 degrees. I used the crock pot this time as the weather in my part of the world has been rather odd for this time of year…40 mph winds with clouds, rain and even snow…in MAY!!!

I strained the oil through my trusted knee high hose and came out with a most gorgeous oil! The dried carrot/mango bits that were left over I have given to my sister at Dirty Water Soap Works so she can use them in a soap recipe or perhaps a scrub. No waste there.

I know this sounds like a lot of work but it really wasn’t. And in the end I have found it to be beneficial for my lips.

I then took out all my ingredients and tools to make the lip balm. I measured out my ingredients and put them all into a 4 cup glass Pyrex Measuring Cup.

After taking this melted mixture out I let it cool just a little and added the Vitamin E oil and some Honey Flavor Oil and a mint essential oil blend called Candy Cane for flavor. My sister gave me an awesome tip. Place a table knife in the freezer for a few minutes and then place it in the melted balm for just a second. The balm sticks to the the knife, you can then take a bit of the balm off, place it on your lips and see if it “feels like it should” and if the taste is what you are looking for. Four knives later I had what I was looking for! A lip balm that sticks to my lips nicely, does not cake or melt too fast, and taste good. It tastes of Honey but has a tingle from the mint in the essential oil. I used plastic pipettes to transfer from the cup to the tins.

I took a recent recipe on the The Sage and tweaked it. A few months ago I infused some healing herbs into some fractionated coconut oil. The herbs I used in this infusion are Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey, Rose Hips and Marshmallow. I also put some Spirulena Powder in there, which gave it a very green color.

The final ingredients in my lip balm ended up being Tamanu Oil, Castor Oil, my Herbal Oil, the Carrot Oil, Bees Wax, Candelilla Wax, Acai Butter, Cocoa Butter, Macadamia Butter, Aloe Extract in an oil base, Vitamin E Oil, Honey Flavor Oil and the mint essential oil blend called Candy Cane.

I know this sounds like a lot of work but it was actually fun taking ideas from other people and coming up with something that I have found to be so soothing to my lips. If I were to narrow down the time it took me to make all this I would have to say, from start to finish, it took about 7 hours, including the drying and infusing time.

My juicer along with the Mango and Carrots.

The juice and pulp are separated.

Mixing the juice and pulp back together.

Preparing the dehydrator.

Spreading the carrot and mango mixture on a tray.

Placing an empty tray over the mixture.

Making a powder form of the dried carrot and mango mixture.

The dehydrated carrot and mango mixture after 3 hours!

Collecting items to make the infusion.

My infusion in the crockpot.

My infused oil is finished!

Straining the infusion through knee high hose.

Collecting supplies to make lip balm.

All the ingredients are ready to be melted.

A jar filled with melted lip balm.

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3 Comments

  • Zany says:

    Well done, Pat!

    I do the 4 butter knives in the freezer thing for testing balms too. The only problem I have is remembering to replace them once they come out of the dishwasher! LOL And I think I’m the one who started the double knee high for straining. I knot and hang it from my banana stand. LOL I still remember the laughter from the forum I first posted that tip on. Happy to see it making the rounds — or of course, it could absolutely be serendipity!

    Quick question, if you don’t mind Pat. While I agree that you should use dried herbs for infusion, when I infused carrots to make carrot “tissue” oil, all the references I could find said the benefits were in the flesh of the carrot and all recommended fresh carrots cooked slowly in oil for about 3 hours. At the end of that time, all the water was cooked out of the gratings (so no chance of growing nasties) and I had a lovely orange oil. It worked well. So, I’m wondering if you would share any reference you have about drying the carrots first. I would really appreciate it.

    As for mangos, I’d eat them before I would infuse them. Mango lover here! LOL

    Cee

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  • rcarver says:

    I don’t own a juicer. Do you think it would still work if I cooked the carrots and ran them through my food processor? I fear that cooking would destroy some of the nutrients that I want to infuse.

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  • Pat says:

    Cee, I make mainly lotions right now and have had a hard time getting the right preservative so my lotions dont grow fuzzy things. This is what inspired me to juice the carrots then combine the juice and the pulp back together before placing in the dehydrator. I know that using fresh herbs will make nasties grow and didn’t want to take a chance with the carrots and mango. I just threw the mango in as it was sitting there begging to be used! After it dried in the dehydrator I ground it up and put it in the oil. If your eastern Colorado weather has been as crazy as ours here on the western slope, you know that the last months has been not to good for “sun infusing”, although I plan to try that this week with some cucumbers. I am sure that using fresh “live” carrots will yeild more benefits from the veggie, but am not quite ready to take that step. I have no references to point to, just my own.

    As for cooking the carrots, I do think it would take some of the beneficial nutrients away. But in small batches it is worth a try, I suppose. I do imagine that if you grated the carrots, dried them, then infused them, you would get the same effects. I don’t see why that would not work.

    I used some of the oil to make a Honey Cane Lip Balm that I sent in for the “Christmas in July” swap. My sister used some if it in a lip balm, I do believe. The rest of the carrot oil I am going to make a sample of tanning lotion for my niece. Hopefully that experiment comes out as well as the lip balm did.

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