This is our first year harvesting honey from our bees.
While we had bees last year, the colony split and swarmed so many times that we did not feel like we could gather the honey they made. So, I was really excited when we harvested just 4 of the 10 frames and reaped just under 2 gallons of fresh, raw, very local honey! What was left was all that wonderful wax.
But, what to do with it? How does someone render beeswax to use?
I knew I wanted to be able to use it for making deodorant, lotions, and salves. But, I had to clean it up a bit. The beeswax was full of bits of honey and brown hard cappings. I did not want that in the wax I was going to be using, so it needed to be removed.
First, take the wax cappings from the frames and place them in a heavy pot. The pot should be at least 2 inches higher than the wax cappings you are rendering. Cover the wax with water. The amount of water isn’t a big deal, it just needs to cover the wax completely.
Second, gently simmer the wax on medium heat until it is all melted. This can take 2-3 hours, depending on how much wax you have. Once the wax is all melted, turn the heat off and allow to cool. The wax will rise to the top of the water and form a hard disk.
Once the wax is cool, remove the disk of wax and pour the water out. We like to save it to add to lemonade or tea, as it has some of the honey in it. Others will pour it out.
Take the wax disk, and place it back in the empty pan. Turn the heat on low and allow the wax to completely melt again. This may take 20-30 minutes. Don’t try and rush the process by turning the heat on high, as it can burn. Low and slow is the name of the game here.
While the wax is melting, prepare your mold and strainer. I just used a cookie sheet, but you can use any soap mold or candy mold you wish to pour your wax in. The strainer should be metal, and lined with cheesecloth. I like triple thickness for mine, so I used 6 layers of cheesecloth.
Carefully pour the hot wax into the cheesecloth, directly over the mold. The cheesecloth will catch all the brown bits from the wax. Allow the wax to cool completely.
The brown bits, or “slumgum”, that are left in the cheesecloth can be used as a fire starter. It is also great for keeping your smoker going next time you are checking on the hives.
Once the wax is cool, it will easily come up from your mold. This will only take about 10 minutes to cool, depending on the room temperature. You can stick it in the fridge if you want it to cool faster. I like to store mine in the refrigerator so I don’t have to worry about it melting if it gets hot in my kitchen. However, it CAN be stored in a cupboard in an airtight container, if you wish.
Have you ever rendered your own beeswax? What did you use it for? Be sure to pin this for later