Beeswax is useful for a number of things around the home--waterproofing leather, homemade cosmetics, lubrication, furniture polish and soap making. Beeswax is a prized ingredient in candle making because of its sweet smell, bright flame, and ability to purify the air. You can buy purified beeswax and beeswax products, but if you have access to a beehive, you can harvest the beeswax yourself. The raw beeswax will be full of bee carcases, larvae and other impurities, so you will need to purify the wax before using it. Here are some guidelines.
Extract the honey from the comb. Break up the wax honeycomb and place it in a clean pair of pantyhose. Hang the pantyhose and let the honey drip out into a large bowl set underneath. Leave overnight to be sure almost all of the honey is removed.
Place the empty honeycomb pieces in a strainer, and rinse under cold running water.
Cut a large square of cheesecloth with double thickness. Place the pieces of honeycomb on the cheesecloth and pull up the corners. Fasten the edges and corners of the cheesecloth with tight rubber bands or twist ties, to make a nice neat bundle. The bundle should be sealed so that no impurities can escape.
Place the beeswax bundle into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and watch carefully to be sure that the hot wax water does not boil over, causing a fire. Allow the wax to boil for half an hour.
Remove the pot from the heat and place it on a heat proof surface that has been covered with newspapers. Lift the bundle out of the water with tongs, and hold it over the pot. Gently squeeze the bundle with a pair of wide tongs or pincers to remove the rest of the liquid, allowing it to drip into the pot. Discard the bundle.
Place the pot of water and melted, now purified wax in a safe place to cool. Allow it to sit until the wax hardens, forming a solid layer above the water.
Remove the purified beeswax from the pot by carefully pushing down one side of the wax cake and lifting the opposite side. You now have a disc of purified beeswax. Slice the disc and place in plastic bags to store.
Things you need
- Large bowl
- Large pot