I did it! I finally got around to melting down, cleaning and filtering some of my beeswax for candles and they turned out great! It was a long, sticky and hot process but after two previous failed attempts. My wax is clean enough to burn. First I took 6 quart sized ziplock bags of crushed comb (left over from the honey extracting process) and put them directly in a giant pot of water on the stove. As the water warmed, I stirred the wax and the excess honey dissolved out. When the wax melted completely, I took it off the heat and waited for the wax to cool and harden. The hardened wax floats on top and when it cooled , I took out the honey flavored water (and saved it) and filled the pot with fresh water and repeated the process in order to get all the honey out. The wax will not burn efficiently if there is still honey in it. The first two times I tried it I only washed/melted the wax in water once and filtered it through cheesecloth (holes are too big) and my candles smoked, sputtered, sparked and went out in less than a minute. Pathetic.
|melting the wax in water to dissolve the honey|
|here you can see the brownish globs of propolis|
|putting the clean but not yet filtered wax into a jar and remelting it for filtering|
|once the wax was melted I took it out and poured it through the sweatshirt material to take out the remaining clumps of propolis and pollen.|
|finished candles and block of clean beeswax. so pretty.|
So what did I do with all that honey flavored water? Well I thought about tossing it. But when I tasted it, i found it was pretty darn sweet. There was quite a bit of honey trapped inside that crushed comb and knowing it takes a worker bee its entire lifetime to make just one teaspoon of honey, there was no way I could let it go to waste. So being the huge tea drinker I am (4-5 cups a day) I decided to save it to sweeten my tea. Now this was wax that came from my honey supers so it didn't have bugs, dead bees or any gross things in it. Just propolis and some pollen so why not keep it. It was also heated to boiling for several minutes so I don't want any comments about the likelihood of me poisoning myself, okay? I put it in several extra jars and will keep it in the fridge for a few weeks to use for my tea.
|yeah, yeah it looks like pee. but its honey flavored water.|
I have quite a few frames of older wax that I need to do something with before they succumb to mice or bugs. It takes just as much time to do a little as it does a lot so might as well go balls to the wall! So when you are considering your zombie apocalypse team, please add "candle maker" to my list of qualifications.
This week I plan to go to an undisclosed forest location to dig up a few wild ramps (native garlicky, oniony things that are fast becoming delicacies at famous restaurants) and do something fun with them.