On my hands and knees scraping the hardened rubbery, yellow/brown substance off the floor I promise to ban myself from the kitchen. The trouble is that I like honey but I love beeswax. It brings out my creative gene…there’s so many things that can be done with beeswax, apart from lodging blobs on the floor! Warm beeswax has a lovely feel to the fingers but safety warning …it melts at about 60oC and will burn skin, but… as it sets, it feels wonderfully smooth and mouldable. Tactile. Now, that it’s hardened and lodged in the groves of rough floor tiles I’m not feeling so particularly enamoured by it. I had spent the last few days rendering beeswax. That’s the process for cleaning the honey-laced, highly valued, white wax cappings which were scrapped off the honeycomb during the honey harvest, and the duller looking bits of broken combs (not the black ones) taken from scraping down the hive frames for sterilising, then putting them through the age-old process to clean it to make blocks of yellow, beautiful, pure beeswax.
As I’m writing this I feel an excitement building up in me, there is so much to wax I don’t know where to start but I’d better get back to the job at hand and stop procrastinating and finish cleaning the kitchen floor! It’s the first lesson anyone should get before starting to fool around with beeswax. The clean-up I had done just after the rendering did not show up all the spots of wax, it was only days later that, just like chewing gum on the ground (pet hate!), the little beeswax blobs darkened and became visible and frankly were disgusting. Washing the floor with loads of suds, pouring boiling water on it or steaming it only spreads the wax about. Larger spots can be easily peeled off a cold floor but there is nothing like a flat knife and getting down and personal, inches from the floor, to scrape the small blobs, followed by a good going over with a rough scrubbing brush. Mind you I’m not talking marble tiles here; heaven forbid I’d ever scratch marble!! I have old fashioned, very non-slip, tiles that I’ve been promising to replace for years. I should not be rendering or fooling about with wax in the kitchen anyway. I should have learned from the experienced beekeeper who used to make beeswax candles in their kitchen, until it caused a significant fire!!!!
There’s torrential rain and hail lashing on my window distracting me as I write. I hope my hives are alright!!! Ref my blog posts Batten down the hatches and/or Destructor referring to wind/ rain/ damp hives and/or Bees, bees and wasps which refers to beekeepers constant anxiety
Rendering beeswax 101
- Dump wax into a saucepan.
- Cover with water (allow plenty of room)
- Bring it to the boil – keep an eye on it and never ever, ever leave the room while heating beeswax
- Strain wax and water through muslin and a sieve into a bucket.
- Let cool overnight (Wax floats on water and the dirt sticks to the bottom of the wax. Very like magic.)
- Remove hardened block of wax, scrape off dirt
- Do it all again
- And again until there’s no dirt.
Beeswax will splash on the floor despite being careful and covering the floor with cardboard. If you’ve zen-like coordination and don’t appear to have splashed it then it will certainly jump out of the bucket and get on the bottom of your shoe (like chewing gum on a hot day) and you will still find deposits in obscure corners.
But it’s so worth it.
If your really want to know about Recovering and Recycling of Beeswax –check link for a very detailed and informative PDF from Scottish Beekeepers .org
How to render wax Rendering Beeswax… Worth The Hassle? Let’s Find Out! Video is 14+ mins I like that he’s doing it in the kitchen too! He’ll learn 😊.
Here’s a shorter video – a little different from the method I use. How To Render Beeswax from a Honeycomb less than 4 mins
And Separating, Melting, and Shaping Beeswax less than 5 mins
A bit of history and a lot of lovely facts about beeswax:
Beeswax: History, Uses and Trade Stefan Bogdanov
Another extract from Stefan Bogdanov’s book:
Beeswax: Production, Properties, Composition, Control