8/24/15

Cucumber and Kale Soap



August is not a good month to make soap in New York City. It's too humid. And the soap gremlins arrive for an extended vacation. They bring their kids and their in-laws and set up camp in Times Square. Things go awry. Oils separate. Water doesn't evaporate. Molds spring leaks.

Having said all that, I did want to get one batch in under the wire this month using some cucumbers I grew in my plot in the Hell's Kitchen Community Garden.

I started by making a puree with peeled cukes, then strained the seeds, but kept the pulp. Such a beautiful color and fragrance! I then froze it because I have this theory that if you use ANYTHING other than water with lye, it should be frozen. I have nothing to back this up, but I still do it. 


I knew the gorgeous color and fragrance wouldn’t survive the lye process—especially with the soap gremlins a mere five blocks away, so I bought some kale at Whole Foods, took the fibrous stems out and dried it on a cookie sheet in my oven (no heat). Then I powdered it in the coffee grinder and added just enough olive oil to make a liquid-y paste.

The fragrance is an essential oil blend of fennel, bergamot, ravensara and orange.

The recipe is 100% coconut oil at 20% superfat. I figured a simple recipe would give the gremlins less of a temptation to strike. Kale paste added at trace, just a smidge to the portion that’s the lighter green. All going according to plan.


The next day, the loaf popped out of the mold and I ended up with a fabulous batch of gently exfoliating, great smelling beautiful soap.

Except for the failed hanger swirl (yes, that is a hanger swirl), I lucked out. The soap gremlins left me alone. Perhaps they were at a matinee of Wicked or taking the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty.

Have the soap gremlins ever come to your town to wreak havoc?

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