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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.