Tuesday, August 6, 2013
( How to ) Mind Your Beeswax
I process the wax in a double boiler. Beeswax has a melting point of around 145 degrees F (about 63 C.), so you don't want direct heat. In fact, about 185 degrees will discolor the wax and you won't get the nice, creamy yellow color. I put a few inches of water in the bottom pan and set it on the burner to heat up. In this whole process, my water never got to the boiling point and the wax was all melted. If you do get to the boiling point, all you need is a low simmer. You want to avoid having water get into your wax, which will cause it to lose its nice creamy consistency.
I use old t-shirts to strain the wax. As you will see, the wax appears dark when I heat it (though not burned as if I were to overheat it), with many impurities (dirt, bee parts, grass, etc.) and I need to filter those out. When the wax is all melted, I pour a small bit at a time onto the t-shirt which you can either lay on the container or use a rubber band to secure it. I use cottage cheese or similar type container because they release the wax easily when cooled. I move the wax around on top of the shirt, allowing as much as possible to drain through while still hot. Some wax will remain on the shirt, but you can recover much of that later after it has cooled by simply scraping it with a flat knife.