Wow, it’s been about six weeks since I’ve last made a post. I haven’t done too much in the way of gardening, cooking, or brewing, so I haven’t had much new content to write about. Now, though, with the winter solstice gone and the days getting longer, it’s time to start thinking about starting seedlings and planning what’s worth fiddling with in the garden, this year.
More about that later this week.
Anyway, Mrs. Czajkowski went out with her grandmother this past week. She picked me up some fair trade Ethiopian coffee, which I am excited to push through my new grinder. While there, though, she picked herself up a bag of soap nuts (Sapindus Mukorossi, specifically). I was hoping that I’d be able to eat them, but, alas, they are nothing but bitter husks.
The bag says:
Soap nuts are the fruit of the Ritha, a tree found primarily in Nepal. The shell contains “saponin“, which is known for its ability to clean and wash. Soap nuts preserve the color and structure of valuable clothing longer than chemical detergent.
Place 5-6 Soap Nut shell halves in the cotton sack and soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Put the sack in the washing machine. The same soap nuts can be used up to three times. If the temperature is more than 150 degrees, shells can be used only once.
The wife wants to use them for two things. First of all, she’d love to replace the current detergent we’re using. Both her and I have sensitive skin, so we avoid perfumed and chemical-based substances the best that we can, especially on our clothing. Our skins absorb these chemicals and can have some harsh effects on us (and people, in general).
Secondly, since she has a very delicate scalp and has a hard time finding a shampoo that helps rather than harms, she wants to make a home made shampoo from these soap nuts. Here’s one possible recipe:
Boil approximately 12-15 whole soap nuts with 6 cups of water for 30 minutes. When it is boiled down, you will have about 4c. of liquid left. Add extra water, if needed, to keep it at that amount. When cooled, remove the soap nuts, and pour it into an airtight plastic or glass jar. It is better to make the liquid in smaller batches as it can spoil. Experiment with making liquid to see if you prefer a more concentrated version, using 3 cups water instead of 6 cups. Some prefer the concentrated solution for handwashing and shampoo.