Friday, March 23, 2012

Preserving Homemade Products: The Basics

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"Preservation" is essential for many of those who mix their own homemade products.  It not only reduces the wasting of ingredients but it prolongs the shelf life of recipes.  Additionally, it saves time spent on concocting product after product for one-time use.  The following list consists of basic preservation methods that are imperative for any mixologist: 

Refrigeration:
Use refrigeration to preserve water-based products (e.g., spritzes) for a short period (a few days to a week or so).  The cold temperature of the fridge will delay growth of bacteria and fungi.

Freezing:
Use the freezer to preserve water-based products (e.g., deep conditioner mixes) for a longer period (few weeks to a month or so).  The even colder temperature of the freezer will delay growth of bacteria and fungi.  Place the product in the refrigerator to thaw on the night prior to using it.

Use clean utensils and containers:
Bathe utensils and containers in a solution of soap and hot water.  An alternative is to wipe down utensils and containers with alcohol.  The soap or alcohol will essentially kill any bacteria that would otherwise contaminate your mixture.

Add an essential oil (but pregnant women beware):
Essential oils can act as a slight preservative due to their antimicrobial properties. Tea tree, lavender, lemon, thyme, and rosemary are just a few essential oils known to have these properties.  Those who are pregnant or sensitive to essential oils should speak with their doctors before use.

Do not use fingers to obtain water-based product:
Our fingers contains tons of bacteria and can contaminate such products.


NOT A PRESERVATIVE, BUT STILL USEFUL ...

Add vitamin E oil or rosemary extract oil:
These oils can slow the oxidation of products containing oils, such as avocado, evening primrose, flax, hemp, or sweet almond oil. Vitamin E and rosemary extract are antioxidants, not preservatives.  Thus, they will not prolong the shelf life a product prone to bacteria and mold growth.

Other tips:
Seal containers airtight
Store non-refrigerated products in dark, cool areas

SOURCES:
VITAMIN E OIL
PRESERVATIVES

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2 comments:

  1. I freeze my flaxseed gel and defrost as needed, usually with the microwave for about a minute when I'm in a rush.

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  2. I add cosgard (Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid, aqua) to my flaxseed gel or my spray when I made one. I let the gel in the fridge not the spray but I make sure to do it in small amount I am sure to finish it quickly. For oil infusion or homemade butter I use vit.E sometimes rosemary extract and I use EO but to perfume ^^.

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