I Can’t Hold a Candle to You

Clean, rinsed, lovely wax

After spinning out our honey, we had what appeared to be a great deal of beeswax left over.

We soaked it in water overnight to loosen up any residual dirt and then rinsed it several times to get it as clean as possible.

At this point, we added about two inches of water to a pot that we never, ever intend to use for anything other than wax ever again, and to that we added the cleaned wax.



Over a frustratingly low heat, we waited for the wax-water to boil.  This took several lifetimes, but was preferable to the alternative high-heat method wherein the wax either scorches or hits its flash point and erupts in a terrifying indoor fireworks display of eyelash-melting proportion.

Better to take it slow and avoid all the potential unpleasantness.

It took over an hour, but the wax finally started bubbling nicely.  At this point, we poured the hot wax through cheesecloth into plastic quart containers.

Super wastey.

Super wastey.

If I had it to do over again, I would never have wasted the cheesecloth in this reckless and wanton manner.  Cheesecloth is precious, for Pete’s sake!  It’s expensive!  It is not a single-use item!  Folks have used everything from an old t-shirt to pantyhose to strain their wax.  Use what you like, just avoid high-ticket items such as cheesecloth and $100 bills (although both of these will work just fine).

Not beer.

Not beer.

Once all the wax was filtered, we had four beautiful quart containers filled with the most promising amber-brown liquid I’d ever seen.

I started feeling really elated.  I couldn’t believe we’d gotten such an enormous yield on our first-ever attempt! While waiting for the wax to cool, I started thinking about candle-making.

Then, I started planning all the wonderful things we could make.

Then, I started noticing how the wax and water were separating in the containers.

Then, I realized that the VERY THIN BAND of lighter colored material at the top of each container was the wax and EVERYTHING ELSE was brown water.

No. 2 pencil for scale

No. 2 pencil for scale

So, in the end, we got about a 6-ounce piece of wax.  But, boy-oh-boy! is it ever pretty!

Maybe we’ll make candles next year.

About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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6 Responses to I Can’t Hold a Candle to You

  1. As a kid, I raised bees. It was my very first business. Sold honey, comb, AND candles. I had five hives, and after the first few years, did it all myself, so that by age 15, i was making enough to buy my first car. I learned a thing or two about making candles, following old colonial methods. First-off, pure beeswax candles are a waste of bees wax, and burn VERY hot. DO NOT make glass container candles with it. They will explode. Thin your wax with coconut oil (cheap grade) or paraffin (although this creates soot a bit). Use cotton wicks, and if you use molds, I had to get creative just to get the wick straight (hot-glued pennies on one end). To this day, I will NEVER forget the pain-in-the-butt process, but will never forget the results. GOOD LUCK! Love your blog, and restaurant BTW.

  2. farmingfolks1 says:

    Wow! That was a neat post to read, I had no idea that much effort went into beeswax, and LOL at the ‘everything else was brown water’ 🙂

  3. Ru says:

    That was very interesting. Despite being allergic to bee stings, I have always wanted my own hive just so I could make candles and get my own beeswax for cosmetics. I didn’t realise how much of work it was or how little you get at a time. Very informative.

  4. Pingback: Making (Not-Fancy) Beeswax Candles | applewood farm

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