When beeswax is first harvested, it is full of debris, and needs to be rendered (purified) to make it suitable for use in candles and cosmetic products. There are expensive machines that can help with this, but at Mayetta Farms, we do it the old fashioned way – by hand. Here’s how!
We start with beeswax. In this case, some of the wax was from the cappings that we scraped off to harvest honey. The rest of the wax was beeswax that I had collected over the course of the season. Every time I scrape off any burr comb (excess comb built outside the frame), I toss it into a bag to use it later, for this purpose.
We put all of the wax into a pot of water, and put it on the stove, heating it until all the wax has melted into a liquid. Once the wax is liquid, we take the pot off the burner and set it to the side to cool.
As the pot cools, the wax will begin to solidify and float to the top. The vast majority of debris will end up on the underside of the floating wax. This must be scraped off and discarded.
After discarding the debris, rinse the pot, put fresh water in it, put the wax back into the pot of water, and repeat the process. Again, after the water cools and the wax solidifies and floats, scrape and discard the debris from the bottom of the wax.
The wax will get cleaner and cleaner with each round. How many times you must do this depends on how clean it was to begin with. It can take 10 rounds or so to become perfect. Some light weight debris may float up into the wax. Such debris can be removed with a toothpick while the wax is cooling.
We recommend only using 1/2 to 1 inch of water in the pot. The more you use, the longer it takes to cool.