2019 55¢ Winter Berries: Soapberry
Value: 55¢ 1-ounce First-class rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 17, 2019
First Day City:
Type of Stamp: Definitive
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Double-sided Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 300,000,000
Today, most soap is produced in big factories and can contain chemicals that are bad for skin and hair. For this reason, some people choose to make their own soap using traditional methods. One of these methods involves the use of soapberries.
The soapberry (Sapindus saponaria) is a large, leathery, golden-colored fruit with a single black seed in the center. The berries begin to ripen in October, but can still be found on trees well into the winter. Soapberry trees can reach heights anywhere from 20 to 50 feet tall.
Soapberry trees are found mainly in warm tropical regions, where people native to these areas know the best way to make soap from the berries: "Dry the fruits until they can't be dried anymore, than [put the fruits] on stone metate grinds and grind until [you have] pure dust." This powder can then be used in any way regular soap is used. In the United States, soapberry trees can be found growing from Arizona east to Kansas, Texas, and Florida. The trees can flourish in a variety of environments as long as they have moist soil.
Researchers have begun looking into the potential benefits of soapberries over mass-produced soap. Some positives might include less drying of skin and hair, natural antimicrobial properties, and more. It's exciting to think what other benefits might be discovered!