I am a soap hoarder. Not only do I make soap, I buy handmade bars of it (like the two more bars I bought Thursday at the farmers market), and I have a gallon of Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap as well.
I don’t know how this started, but I do that know I hate running out of soap, and at this point, it’s fairly unlikely that I will within the next several years.
I also cannot help but save the ends and bits of soaps when they get too small to use, and I store them up in a little dish in the back of my bathroom cupboard (does anyone else out there do this?). There they sit and dry out and hang out for, oh, maybe a year, maybe two.
I use soap made from vegetable–especially hemp–glycerin; it’s not terribly expensive and is very gentle. So most of what was in the dish was Jen‘s Hemp, Hemp Hooray (which I now make for myself, since she split for Swaziland and the Peace Corps), oatmeal and coffee gardener’s soap, and possibly some Patchouli Goodness (also Jen’s recipe).
Today I took that dish of soap bits and set them to melt on the stovetop in a Pyrex saucepot. I used the lower than Low setting, and I added the top crust of what was in my jar of raw unfiltered honey. It was basically a mix of honey, beeswax, and pollen. I also added just a smidgen of olive oil.
It was all melting rather slowly and nicely, but I got impatient, as I often do, and I turned it up a little to get those last little bits melted, and then I promptly forgot about it when my friend Gail showed up to chat.
When I returned to the kitchen maybe half an hour later, I had a quite hot and incredibly sweet-smelling caramelized soap-soup in my pot. Not wanting to waste it, I immediately poured it into the cleaned-out glass bowl I’d been using to save the soap bits. I’d planned to add rosemary oil, but the scent of the caramelized honey was fantastic in itself.
Obviously, I won’t sell this soap, since it’s made out of the leftovers I’ve been using in my bathroom for the past more-than-a-year. I’ll let the pretty seven ounce bar cure and dry slowly and put it up against the unlikely event that I run out of soap, soap-making ingredients, and money…
…or, you know, “civilization” ends or something silly like that.