It's Rhubarb time again

I have been making everything Rhubarb in this past week.  My Rhubarb plants are doing so well, probably because I covered them in loads of well rotted manure last fall and gave them some seaweed as well.  They are growing like maniacs, which is nice because I didn't expect to be able to get any crop this year since it's only been two years since I got them and I even replanted them last summer.

Rhubarb rewards it's owner handsomely if treated properly.  It's not very complicated.  It should be divided every 10-15 years, or when it stops being productive.  It's a big plant and it needs plenty of nutrients.  Manure is perfect, or some other form of organic fertilizer like chicken manure and seaweed.

There are many cultivars of Rhubarb, some are completely red through the stalks, others have red on the outside of the stalks and then some are completely green.  The reds cultivars tend be give less crop than the others.  The taste is also different between the cultivars and apparently is is malic acid that determines the taste, if there is too little it tastes of little, and if there is too much it is too sour.  There is no correlation between the colour of the stalks and the amount of malic acid in the Rhubarb.

This year I have already made Rhubarb syrup, Rhubarb heels, Rhubarb drink and Rhubarb muffins.  And of course Rhubarb soap!  I wanted to try to make a gradient colour with Rhubarb oil.  Maybe an Ombré type effect. I didn't quite succeed, its more stripes than Ombré, but it's nice anyway and I had fun.

I just eyeballed the amounts of Rhubarb oil (chop up some pieces of root into oil of your choise and let it infuse until you see a good colour) into the soap, so it wasn't very scientific, but the recipe is here:

Olive oil 49% 360g / 13oz (out of this 20g was Rhubarb root infused)
Coconut oil 25% 190g / 6.7oz
Rapeseed oil 17% 107g / 3.7oz
Cocoa butter 9% 70g / 2.5oz
Castor oil 2% 14g / 0.5oz

Water 33% 250g / 8.7oz
Lye 106g / 3.7 oz

I divided the soap into four approx. 200g /7oz each and colored the first part with about 2 tablespoons of Rhubarb oil.  The second with just over one tablespoon.  The thirds with about half a tablespoon and the last with about a teaspoon.  I tried to pour very evenly, over a spatula, and slammed the mold down to even it, but there are still valleys in the colors bands.  I put the soap into a cold oven when it started to gel, because I wanted it to gel evenly and it seems to have done just that.

The intensity of the colour surprised me a little bit.  The darkest layer is really dark red.  Quite beautiful and a blueish tint to it.  The cut surfaces are more of a yellow red, but they turn more blue as the soap ages.  The scent was a combo of Rosewood and Rose Geranium and it smells lovely.  I still leave a lot of Rubarb left to harves and I just may need to try some of the hair colour recipes next.  On myself.  That could be interesting...

Comments

  1. Love the colors Ambra!! It's amazing how many shades you could get with the Rhubarb. :)

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  2. I can't believe those rich wonderful colours!!! Beautiful! xo Jen

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  3. Love love love these colors!! How did you make your rhubarb oil? Did you just steep the rhubarb in the oil for a while? How long?

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  4. Nitya - Yes, I could have made more layers and got a more subtle gradation, but then I would have to be organized - and I'm not that type :)
    Jen- I know! I've used Rhubarb oil before, but never in this strength - so I was pretty wowed.
    Leana - You need the root. You can divide your Rhubarb if you have any plants (or beg a friend for a piece). You don't need a big piece. The root is a very strong yellow colour. I chop up the root into small pieces and pour oil over and steep for at least 2 weeks. You can see the jars I used. I strained the rhubarb from the olive oil I used first and then poured some more oil over the same rhubarb pieces. There is a lot of colour in there, but I'll have to see how strong the second steeping is.

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  5. I've never heard of Rhubarb oil before...is it just oil infused with rhubarb skins?

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  6. Tanya - It's Rhubarb ROOT infused for a few weeks in oil of your choice.

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  7. Fabulous colour and wonderful that it has come just from Rhubarb - really, really lovely

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  8. That is some seriously pink soap - looks amazing!!! How are the hair color experiments going? :)

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  9. Beautiful soap! Love,love,love the shades of pink!

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  10. Woww, the colors are so strong and nice, i love it...thanks a lot for share :)

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  11. Rhubarb root...that's new to me! I'll try it next time I divide the rhubarb in the garden. Do you have to dry the root first? What ratio of root to oil?

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  12. Tanya - If you look at the picture you can see the jars that I used. I just chopped the fresh root (You can also freeze it and dry, but the colour is best from fresh and frozen) and filled a jar with it. The I poured oil over it to cover and let it sit for a few weeks. Then strain the oil and use that. I used different quantities for the different colors. I added the rhubarb oil after I blended the soap.

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  13. Amazing!
    What color is the oleolito root of rhubarb?

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  14. The root is a strong yellow, even orange in colour. The infused oil becomes yellow to slightly green. The red colour develops in contact with alkaline substances (like lye).

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  15. Okay. Thank you.
    I am preparing the oleolito rhubarb and I see that does not turn red, so I was worried

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  16. That soap has a beautiful color! I wish I had read the comments first though before I tried infusing rhubarb oil myself. I just went outside and cut of some stalks and put them in oil. Now I'm reading the comments, it should have been the roots. I'm gonna dig some of them up too and add them to the stalks. Although I do make a gorgeous pink rhubarb liquor using rhubarb stalks. But that's in alcohol, don't know if oil can pull out the same amount of coloring from the stalks.

    Thank you for the inspiration! You have a lovely blog.

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  17. I'm sorry I didn't realize that the post doesn't specify to infuse the root :) I need to change that. Thank you for bringin that to my attention.

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  18. i did it finially made rhubarb soap. my hubby helped as i just got out of hospital.i coloured part of soap with rhubarb oil and left some natural.didnt scent it.but when i do it again ill use peony fargrance.they remind me of a peony that grew in my neighbors garden.the colour is sogirlie and soft i love it.thought youd like to know itsonly second time i tried ma
    king soap.first time was a bit of mess you need to use recipe .live and learn.lol

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  19. I love making natural soaps and I have a huge rhubarb patch, so thanks for this info! :)

    Is there a time that's best to dig up the root (i.e.,spring or summer)?

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    Replies
    1. The root contains all the good stuff in spring and autumn when there are no leaves to take energy from the root. That is also a goo time to divide the plants and move them and inevitably some pieces brake off in the process :)

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