Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creating Shea Butter Naturally

Recently I had the pleasure of doing some freelance writing for Wayne Dunn owner of Baraka Supplies. He sells Shea butter along with Bolga baskets and accessories. My job was to create a write up about Shea butter, what it is, how it is made, where it comes from, you get the picture. You know one thing I love about freelancing? Not only do I make money, and get to write about topics I love, but I also gain knowledge.

Did you know that Shea comes from a fruit of a tree in both Western and Central Africa? I learned that the best Shea butter is created by the village women. They gather the fruit from July to August and there is a process of drying, which is done in the sun. Using a very large mortar and pastel the seeds are gently cracked open, separated from the shells by hand, and once again left to dry. The majority of the process is done by hand except for the grinding of the nuts.

Everything has to be washed before they start making the Shea or it will be contaminated. You should always wash your hands before touching your Shea for the same reason. The women in the villages spend up to two hours gently separating the Shea from the oil. This is all done by hand as they gradually add water to it. Once that is done they have a beautiful slightly yellow butter which is packaged up and sold. Wow!!! I could not believe it, it was amazing. Of course the Shea contained in store lotions goes through a more industrialized process which removes the healing properties from the butter along with bleaching.

Another interesting thing I learned is that when Shea melts and solidifies again it becomes gritty. Once it has melted it will not go back to having that smooth butter like texture. The ahhhh moment when I learned why the Shea butter I have is gritty and harder to apply then the Shea Wayne sent me. You should store your Shea butter in a dark cool place and it will last up to a year.

Oh yeah I almost forgot not only did this wonderful man pay me to write for him he sent me 4 kg of Shea butter. I almost died when I found out that is 8 lbs of butter!!!! I have been using the one from Baraka, which by the way means thank you in Wali a Ghanaian language. That is where they get their Shea butter from, Ghana, and let me tell you it is awesome. It is so smooth and creamy with no gritty texture, angels singing, I'm in love and will get all my Shea from him. Oh and I noticed it has just a hint of smokey fire, I love it thinking about all the work these women do to create it. I would love to visit with Wayne some day during the season and help them create this amazing butter.

I have not used it to create any homemade products I feel like it would be an insult. What I have decided to do is giveaway the other 4 lbs. So, Thursday during Real Food Fridays we will be giving away 1 lb of Shea butter. We decided to split up the happiness, so this will be one of three giveaways to come. What about the fourth lb, hey gotta spread the love to my Real Food Friday hosts.

Uses for Shea butter include.
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Prevents peeling from sun burn
  • Helps to heal surgery wounds quicker
  • Reduces stretch marks
  • Heals cuts quickly
  • Great for various hair types
  • Moisturizer
  • And more

I have included two of the videos I watched while doing my research together they are about 20 minutes long, but worth it in my book.

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