Chinese Star Anise Soap
|There is an early morning market that happens daily in my new neighborhood. Everyone gets up and goes to the market to get fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, grains, tofu, meats and even spices. The Chinese want the freshest products they can get, so it is easy to find produce that was picked just this morning. The prices are very reasonable. I got 1500 grams (3.3 lbs) of green beans for only 5 RMB! This is less than $1 US! It is fun to go to the market to pick the produce I want to use to make dinner each evening.
When I saw the spice vendor, I was impressed by the HUGE pile of Star Anise that was for sale. Anyone could buy as much or as little quantity as wanted. They were having a special sale because they had just brought in a new crop of the Star Anise. Spend 3 RMB ($0.50) and get 50 grams or spend 10 RMB ($1.60) and get 200 grams. Seeing this pile of Star Anise inspired me to make a batch of soap for those hunters and fishers as it is in the middle of summer. Come join me in the kitchen to make Chinese Star Anise soap!
Measure fixed oils on your scale. Warm the fixed oils on the stove or in the microwave. I melted the oils in the microwave. Add sodium hydroxide to the water. Mix well. Combine oils and lye solution. Mix until thin trace. Upon light trace, add the Chinese Star Anise Essential Oil. Stir well. Pour soap into the desired mold. Allow to sit until soap is firm. The next morning cut into bars. Stack to allow good air circulation. Allow to cure for several days before using. Longer curing will result in a harder bar.
Note: We noticed that the cut soap had a beautiful white swirly color to it when we first cut it due to the stearines in the fats.