One of our studies has been to explore how the plants available on the land and other naturally occurring resources can be used for daily needs such as soap, toothpaste etc.
This is a recipe of making a soap from lemon oil which can be used for washing vessels and bathing.
- Fresh lemons
- Baking soda
- Wood ash
- Cut and squeeze lemons in a bowl with water. Boil this lemon water with the cut lemons so that all the lemon pieces are soaked well. The boiling is best done on low flame and with the vessel covered. This will keep the lemon extract from escaping as steam.
- Let the water boil on a low flame for about 30 minutes (the more you let it boil, the better).
- Leave it overnight to cool (with the lid on the vessel, so that the condensed extract will fall back into the water).
- The next morning, you would observe that the water has turned a bit yellow and it feels oily. This is the oil from the lemons. The lemons can be removed from the water and squeezed so that most of the oil/extract is obtained.
- The lemons can be stored separately for pickling.
- The lemon extract water can be stored in glass/plastic bottles.
A soap is made by reacting animal or plant fats with an alkali, such as lye. In this case, the lemon oil is the fatty part while wood ash or baking soda provide the alkali part.
- The lemon water can be mixed with wood ash or baking soda for use to clean dishes.
- For bathing, mix this lemon water with turmeric and baking soda.
- Adjust the quantities of baking soda/ash/turmeric as per need and how it feels!
Recipe for pickling lemon:
- Add salt and other spices (chilli,cloves, pepper etc.) to the lemon pieces taken out from the water.
- Put the lemons in a glass bottle and pound them down. Leave top 1/4th of the jar empty. This will ensure that the pickle has some space to breathe.
- Store the jar in a cool, shaded place.
- After 2-3 weeks, the pickle can be used to eat raw or can be cooked with other vegetables. The pickle can be stored for several months. As it gets older, the bitterness of the lemon changes to a fermented sweet taste.