Monday, January 23, 2012
Gathering the Fruit
The process of making Shea Butter begins by picking the ripe fruit of the African Shea tree. Once it is gathered, the outer part of the fruit is scraped away. Then the nut or seed is left to dry in the sun.
Cracking the Nut
When dry, the women of the community gather together. They use small rocks to crack open the Shea nut and to remove the outer shell.
Pulverizing the Meat
Next, the Shea nut meat must be crushed. The meat of the nut is hard. It takes heavy stone mortars and pestles to crush the Shea nut meat.
Roasting the Goodies
The crushed nut meat is placed in large pots over open fires. The women constantly stir the Shea nut meat to keep the meat and the butter from burning. It is hot, laborious work. The butter gets heavier and harder to stir as it thickens. The smoke from the flames gives the butter its slight smoky fragrance .
Grinding and Mixing
After the Shea nut meat has finished roasting, the mixture is placed back into the pestles and ground into a smooth paste consistency.
The paste is mixed by hand with small amounts of water. This separates out the butter oils from the meat. As the oil curds rise, they are scooped out. Then, they are squeezed to remove any excess water.
Next, the fresh curds are placed in large pots and melted slowly over fires. The melted curds are slowly boiled to remove any leftover water.Shaping
The creamy yellow butter is ladled from the pots and left to harden. Once cooled, the butter is formed into balls. Then, it is ready to place into containers and ship.
The purest form of organic Shea butter is made with these steps. Some companies will add fragrance or flavors to the butter to make it appeal to their clientele. These fragranced or flavored options are typically favored for the lips and hands.
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Posted by Unknown at 4:16 PM