Nothing gets my creative juices flowing more than trying new ingredients. So when I spotted fresh turmeric at my local Fresh Market store, I knew right away what my next soap would be!
Although turmeric has been around since ancient times, it has recently become more mainstream as people discover its benefits. I recently tried a delicious warm turmeric and milk drink – the inspiration for this fresh turmeric and almond milk soap.
First of all, we’ll be making our own almond milk and turmeric-infused olive oil to incorporate fresh ingredients into our soap! And then, we will complement those fresh ingredients with orange essential oil for the fragrance.
Preparing the Ingredients
To begin, we need to prepare our fresh ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need to make our homemade almond milk and turmeric-infused olive oil.
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 3-4 ounces fresh turmeric root
- 15-16 ounces of olive oil
Other Tools Used
- cutting board
- cheese grater, garlic press, or micro zester (choose one, I used the micro zester)
- cheesecloth or nut milk bag
- fine mesh strainer
Making the Almond Milk
PREP THE ALMONDS: Place 1 cup of raw almonds into a container with lid. Cover with filtered or distilled water. Finally, place lid on container and set aside overnight.
RINSE ALMONDS: Strain almonds and rinse gently. And then, place in blender with 3 cups distilled water.
Gradually bring the blender up to high speed and blend for 3-5 minutes, until it appears to be fully combined. While you may still see a few brown specks, the overall color should be white.
STRAIN: Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
Reserve pulp, if desired. This makes a wonderful vegan cheese (simply add a bit of olive oil, season to taste, and enjoy!)
FREEZE: Pour the almond milk into ice cube trays and freeze it. (You should have about 2-3 cups of liquid)
Now that you’ve created your own almond milk, we’ll be using it as a water replacement in the white soap portion of the fresh turmeric and almond milk soap.
Making the Turmeric Olive Oil
Note: If you do not have access to fresh turmeric or prefer not to use it, you can substitute with dried ground turmeric. Use one third the amount of turmeric in the same amount of olive oil, then follow the same steps for infusion.
PEEL: Since turmeric root is in the ginger family, you can treat it the same way. Using the back of a spoon, scrape the peel from your turmeric. It is a good idea to wear gloves when handling the turmeric, as it stains very easily.
GRATE: Grate the peeled turmeric using a box grater or a micro-zester. You can even use a garlic press or garlic mashing tool. Next, place grated turmeric in a jar with 15-16 ounces of olive oil. Cover tightly and set aside.
INFUSE: If you are unsatisfied with the intensity of the color of your oil, you can place your container with the oil and turmeric mixture in a pot with simmering water and simmer for 15-20 minutes. This will further infuse the turmeric into the oil. Allow to cool completely (I left mine overnight).
After cooling, I chose to blend my oil in the blender to further infuse the color. If you decide to do this, strain the blended oil through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. The oil will be a beautiful neon yellow. Don’t worry if all the small particles don’t strain out. They will not affect the final soap.
Making the Fresh Turmeric and Almond Milk Soap
Soap Recipe Used
I divided the turmeric and almond milk soap recipe in half, so I could keep one half white and the other yellow. The turmeric infused olive oil is used in the yellow portion, and the almond milk is used in the white portion.
Total Soap Recipe Oil Amounts
- 16.8 ounces of Coconut Oil (35% of the oils)
- 14.4 ounces of Olive Oil (Divided into 7.2 ounces olive oil, 7.2 ounces turmeric infused olive oil) (30% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Avocado Oil (10% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Shea Butter (10% of the oils)
- 4.8 ounces of Rice Bran Oil (10% of the oils)
- 2.4 ounces of Castor Oil (5% of the oils)
- 6.5 ounces of Sodium Hydroxide (10% superfat)
- 9.8 ounces of Liquid (Divided into 4.9 ounces almond milk, 4.9 ounces distilled water) (40% lye solution)*
* I know that this is a steep water discount. I like to do this so that my soaps harden quickly and cure quickly. Please feel free to adjust this recipe for more water: a 33% solution would use 13.2 ounces of water total. If you need help understanding lye solutions in soapmaking, this article will help.
Essential Oil Used
- 1.5 ounces of Orange Essential Oil
Colorants and Additives Used
- 4 teaspoons of Sodium Lactate (Soaper’s Choice)*** – Split in half between both portions
- 3 teaspoons of Kaolin clay *** – Split in half between both portions
*** Optional ingredients
Divide the entire soap recipe in half. Prepare your oils, lye solution, additives, and essential oil for each half of the recipe.
ALMOND MILK SOAP: Slowly pour your lye over the frozen almond milk ice cubes and stir.
Next, pour your lye solution into the oils, add your additives (kaolin clay and sodium lactate) and essential oil, and stick blend to a light trace.
FRESH TURMERIC SOAP: Pour your lye solution into the oils, add your additives (kaolin clay and sodium lactate) and orange essential oil. And then, stick blend to a light trace. You will notice upon adding the lye solution, that your soap batter becomes a gorgeous deep orange color.
I chose to do a simple drop swirl pattern, alternating pours of the turmeric soap and the almond milk soap until I had used all of the soap from both containers.
DRESS IT UP: I added a small sprinkling of dried turmeric powder and orange peel powder on the top to give it more interest. Finally, I swirled the top with a chopstick.
I chose not to cover this soap as I didn’t want it to overheat. I left it out on the counter to saponify overnight. Then, it is time to cut, cure, and enjoy!
The turmeric and almond milk soap recipe featured in this tutorial is vegan and palm free. In addition, it can easily be made nut free by replacing the almond milk with another plant based milk (see my previous tutorial for options). It uses a 10% superfat and a 40% lye solution. But, feel free to adjust as necessary!
I really enjoy using food in soap, especially when it’s unconventional! So, let me know in the comments below if there is a food item or liquid you’d like to see in my next Using Food in Soap tutorial!