Archives for posts with tag: beeswax

Aganetha Dyck has been creating artwork with tens of thousands of tiny helpers for years. Dyck – a Canadian artist – has collaborated with live honeybees to help her create some of the most stunning and fascinating sculptures using various materials and natural beeswax, provided by the bees.

The above video shows an exhibit called Guest Workers, which features live honeybees in action. Some of Dyck’s previous work includes figurines and other objects that have been covered with beeswax comb, directly from within the hive.

For more information, and plenty more photos, visit Dyck’s web site.

Aganetha Dyck sculpture

Aganetha Dyck sculpture

Aganetha Dyck sculpture

I recently made some lip balm based on several different recipes I found on the Internet and combining that knowledge with flavours that I enjoy. It turns out that lip balm is ridiculously easy to make. You can make it in your microwave in under 5 minutes by simply estimating measurements.

 

Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mint/peppermint extract

Heat up the oil in a pyrex measuring cup until it’s hot enough to melt beeswax. Then add in your beeswax and put it back in the microwave, stirring frequently until everything is melted. Finally, stir in your mint/peppermint extract and pour into a container of your choosing.

Lip balm in Altoids container

Last night I tried rendering some beeswax for the first time. During my hive inspections, I always brought a jar with me, and I used it to collect any stray beeswax or burr comb that I found in the hive.

Beeswax in a pot

I put all this wax, along with whatever was stuck to it (honey, dead bees and other impurities) into a pot. Be sure that you’re never going to use this pot for cooking ever again. It will forever be your wax pot.

Beeswax in a pot

I then added a tiny bit of water to the mixture to help dissolve some of the honey and cook the wax more evenly. I used about 1/2 cup of water, but it shouldn’t really matter because the wax will float on top of the water and you can separate it in the end.

I then gently heated the entire mixture. Emphasis on “gently” because wax is flammable and if you heat it too fast and hot, it could start on fire. You can see in the photo above that as you do this, a lot of the impurities will float to the top.

Beeswax and cheesecloth

After heating the entire mixture to a liquified state, you can then strain it through a cheesecloth. I secured a chunk of cheesecloth over the pot and then poured it into an aluminum pan. It’s also worth noting that you should use a pan that you don’t mind destroying as well. All the impurities will stay behind in the pot, and you can throw them out.

Beeswax cooling

At this point, I just let the wax sit and cool. You can see from the photo above, that it’s already starting to solidify. Once the wax is solid again, it’s very easy to drain out the “honey water” from the bottom and keep the wax on top. Note: Just to be safe, I discarded the water/honey mixture outside rather than pouring down my drain. I didn’t want any chance that there was still liquid wax in the mixture, which could then solidify in my drain.

Raw beeswax

From a single mason jar of discarded comb, I filled a small container with pure, filtered beeswax. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet. Perhaps I’ll make some lip balm or use it for coating pans while cooking.

In the future, I’m likely going to do this on a cheap hotplate burner rather than on our fancy gas range. I can see how this might get pretty messy doing larger batches.

I have uploaded a new video to YouTube for your viewing pleasure. Thanks to my cousin-in-law, Ivan, for accompanying me out to the bee yard last week. Although we didn’t see the queen, we got some nice close-up shots of my hive and bees.

This video shows a problem that I encountered during the inspection: One of my unwired wax foundation frames had collapsed. I’m not sure whether it was due to the fact that I forgot to push the frames tightly together when I added the new box, or because of the warm weather we’ve had around here lately.

I had to trim out the comb that was causing problems. Was this the best way to handle the problem? I’m not sure. What do you think? I’d love to know how other people would deal with this.

A stick of beeswax next to baking panA friend sent me an article from theKitchn.com today about using beeswax instead of grease or butter on cookie sheets, baking pans, etc. when baking. I have never heard of this so just like the author of the original article, it was news to me.

The article also claims that over time, the bakeware will retain a natural coating of beeswax so that waxing won’t always be necessary.

I’m intrigued and interested in trying this or hearing other people’s experiences. We’re right in the middle of a heat wave in Ontario right now and I don’t have air conditioning, so there will be no indoor baking until the weather cools down. However once the temperatures are back in a sane range, I’ll be sure to try this trick.

Have you ever heard of baking with beeswax instead of a grease? Have you tried it yourself? Leave a comment below.