This is a guest blog, written by a fellow Peace Corps volunteer and friend, Emily. You can visit her complete blog at: delcorazondeamerica.blogspot.com Enjoy!
One of the most important goals of Peace Corps is to promote sustainable development—changes that will last after the volunteers leave. In my branch of Peace Corps Paraguay, the agricultural sector, one of the ways that sustainable development, or sustainable agricultural plays out is by working with the Paraguayans to use the products from their farms and communities as efficiently as possible, to create as much of a closed circle as possible. One way to more efficiently use farm resources (and increase the yield of an individual farm) is to maximize on the “by-products” of family farms. For example, waste products such as cow manure, fallen leaves, and vegetable scraps can be combined to make amazing fertilizer to increase the vegetable production in the garden or field. And the left over fat (tallow) from meat can be used to make soap (which is cheaper and possibly less “chemically” then the soap at the store).
Speaking of soap…I have been itching to learn how to make soap since I’ve been in Paraguay. So, I was very excited when Mark and Susan from Arazape (a community that is about ½ hrs drive north of me) invited me over to try it out. Susan has made soap many times in the states, however, she always made soap using different vegetable oils. This would be first time for both of us using tallow. We figured, we would try it out once on our own and then teach the recipe to our communities. Susan had procured the recipe from another volunteer who had made soap with his woman’s commission, and so, after buying some lye and tallow from the local hardware store and butchery (respectively), we were ready to go.
The Official Recipe for Tallow Soap
- Combine lye with water in a glass container.
- Dice up herbs and grind up some oatmeal to improve soap’s smell and add some gritty scrub.
- Check recipe to make sure you have followed exactly all the steps.
- Pour lye mixture into tallow.
- As your soap boils and bubbles over into yard, stir rapidly.
- Back away from smoking brew.
- Add herbs.
- Scrape hardening foam off of lawn and add back into pot, adding a couple spoonfuls of boiled grass and dirt.
Pour foamy brew into molds.
- When foamy brew cools down and is obviously planning on remaining a cold foamy brew, re-melt on the stovetop.
- Pour back into molds.
- Let cure for a week and enjoy.
- Optional: find a new recipe.
|Remove from mold, use corn husk to tie on fresh mint|