The Soapberry Tree
Have you heard of Soap Nuts yet? I know some of you have. Soap Nuts are an all natural laundry detergent, which are actual berries from the Asian Soapberry Tree. They are the new big thing. Although I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, I’ve heard amazing things. From what I understand, you put three “nuts” in a small cloth bag and throw it into your wash in the place of detergents. They are supposed to last through three loads before they need to be replaced.
The dried shells of these amber colored berries produce a substance called saponin, which causes a soaping effect, and have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans, among others, for washing purposes. When I found out that these Soap Nuts came from a tree, my first thought was, I wonder if I could get one of those trees? Where would I get an Asian (or Chinese) Soapberry Tree, anyways?
After looking into it a little more, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is also a Western Soapberry Tree! It is native to Texas, and grows all over the South West United States, but it is pretty hardy from what I read, and can tolerate many different planting zones.
I think it would be SO cool to have a tree which produces all of the natural detergent I need. If only I could find an online tree nursery to send me one!! I’m still trying to find one which carried these. If you live in Texas, or surrounding states, you may just want to keep your eye out for clusters of these amber fruits called soap nuts. And for goodness sakes, if you spot some, harvest them!!
Have you ever used soap nuts? Have you harvested them in the wild before? I’d love to hear from those of you who have used them before. Or, if you know of an online nursery which sells these, help me out!!