Palm oil is an ingredient you would not commonly associate with trending do-it-yourself (DIY) cultures such as #cottagecore and #5minutecrafts. However, when I started my career at GAR in 2019, I learnt of palm oil’s versatility and usefulness. This year, I finally had the time for my inner creative sparkle to start experimenting with palm-based homemade recipes.
When it comes to oil infusions and soap making, most people associate them with vegetable oils such as coconut or olive. But why not use palm oil? Palm oil is in many supermarket items, from pizza, pastries and chocolate to shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. We should be able to use palm oil as the hero ingredient in DIY projects too. With that in mind, a series of cooking and making with palm oil videos was born!
Why use palm oil?
Palm oil has a light flavour and a high smoking point, making it suitable to hold flavours such as rosemary and garlic, chilli, and the zest from citrus fruits as oil infusions. Also, palm oil is ideal for successfully delivering vitamin A fortification due to its oxidative stability.
Another fun fact is that palm oil is an essential ingredient in soap, both bar- and liquid form. It is used to make oleochemicals, a key source material to produce surfactants (short for surface active agents). These surfactants are what make soap effective in cleaning. While soap is typically produced on an industrial scale in factories, you can also do it at home. With a bar of soap noodle and a tablespoon of palm oil, you can learn how to create cute scented soaps to make great gifts for your loved ones or simply use them yourself for a luxurious bath time. Let me show you how to make palm-based scented soaps at home!
How were the videos produced?
After my discovery of using palm oil for soap making came to the task of filming the entire DIY process. There were some challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions – meaning everything had to be produced with minimal equipment and staffing. The project would not be possible without the help of my colleague, advances in mobile phone technology, and the magic of video editing.
With a couple of scented soap recipes in check, we set out to start filming. In the beginning, there was some trial and error figuring out the best lighting, positioning, framing, and how we could record the videos using basic equipment to yield the best possible result. I will use the lavender soap recipe to show you what I mean.
- Pre-shoot preparation is a must. We made a checklist of all the items we needed. That was the first step to ensure a smooth filming process.
- At the shoot location (which was my colleague’s house), we set up the first scene. We were inspired by Tasty’s shooting style from a top-down angle to showcase the whole process within a frame.
- Once everything was set up, we made sure to double-check the framing and positioning of the scenes (multiple times) and ingredients as well as tools were well-lighted with minimal shadow.
- After that, it was time to start rolling the camera; in this case, we used a smartphone camera! I’m glad that mobile phone technology has advanced so that we can make professional-looking videos from such a small device.
- Making this video series was a 2-person job, and I am glad I had the help of my colleague, Karen. While I was operating the video camera and directing the shoot, Karen was our hand model—her hands were behind the whole process of making all the soaps!
- The entire process took about three hours per DIY video to shoot. It was tiring but a fun and educational experience for us. Seeing the final hero shots made all the effort worth it!
I hope to create more fun and educational palm-based DIY projects in the future to showcase this affordable yet versatile ingredient. Palm oil can be more than just for frying and baking, as demonstrated here. It is a multifaceted ingredient and resource on an industrial level, but it can also be used in homemade recipes like these scented soaps (and oil infusions). So do head over to our YouTube channel to learn more about our cooking and making with responsibly produced palm oil and how it can be a part of your creative journey!
Geraldine Lim is a Social Media Specialist at Golden Agri-Resources. She lives and breathes all things the internet. When she is not online, she can be found cooking up her next gastronomical adventure in the kitchen.