Monday, October 13, 2014
(repost) HOW TO CLEAN UP YOUR WAX CAPPINGS
(1) "Wax Dumplings". I stand at the kitchen sink with a light flow of WARM water - grab a handful of cappings and make "balls" under the warm water - kneading and squeezing the ball harder and harder. The warm water carries the honey away. Squeeze and knead until it gets too hard to do so anymore - and move on to the next ball. You won't get all the honey out and it is not imperative to do so. And this doesn't make a mess of the sink - don't worry about that.
(2) Melt the "dumplings". I have a "campfire" coffee pot. And I have a SIMMER sized burner on my gas stove that makes LESS of a flame!! (some of you might not be able to get your stovetop heat that low) How you do the melting part may depend on your heat source. You want a SLOW steady heat. You DO NOT want to get the melt "ROLLING". NEVER TURN YOUR BACK on wax and flame!!!! Some of you may have a DOUBLE BOILER. Some may do this in a crockpot and ladle it out. You NEED SOMETHING THAT WILL POUR decently. What I like about my "campfire coffee pot is....look at picture #4 - it has a little built-in "sieve" - it holds back some of the GUNK. (will explain that more later). SO - I'M MELTING the balls over a VERY SMALL flame - as the liquid becomes visible around the edges (half way up the pot) - I start pouring. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ENTIRE batch to go liquid - you can keep pouring it off as it melts.
(3) Pour the liquid into styrofoam cups or bowls.
(4) Getting back to the GUNK. As you keep pouring off the more "pure" wax - your concentration of GUNK (honey and propolis and beeparts) becomes more concentrated. Just keep pouring off as much liquid as you can. (That's where the built-in sieve comes in handy) The last couple pours - will be entirely GUNK - there's too little wax in it to even worry about - these pours will be thrown away. (yes - pour every last bit of GUNK out and into the styrofoam cups or bowls) And wipe out your container while it's still warm with paper towels - be careful about HOT WAX - it will burn you in a second! (but it's easier to wipe out the containers when still warm - maybe use some rubber gloves to withstand the heat).
(5) When ENTIRELY cool (about 2 hours) - your wax will pull away from the sides of the syrofoam. THE PURE WAX FLOATS TO THE TOP. The bottom will mostly be honey...and it can be deceptively hot yet in the styrofoam. (I do this in the sink) Peel back the styrofoam to get your hands on the wax and pull it out - the liquid below is honey (DON'T consume this or give it to your bees - wash it down the sink!). Again - you'll use WARM water to wash away the honey from the wax "cone". Rub off some of the other impurities that collect on the bottom of the wax. It's ok if it's a little brown with propolis. If you don't want to use this "dirty" wax in your product - you can cut/scrape it off when you make something with it.
(6) THE CLEAN WAX - the final product.
Tips and Tricks. Use COMET to help clean up wax from utensils. Spread out NEWSPAPER on your surface for easy cleanup. Use PAPER PLATES to "pour" over - then you can come back an peel up that good wax - waste not/want not. Use PAPER TOWEL for wiping off the lip/edge from pouring. In general - have PAPER TOWEL handy. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL with hot wax - it will burn you in a second - pouring can sometimes splatter - keep pets and spouses/helpers at safe distances. BE CAREFUL - wax is extremely flamable! Don't pour around an open flame and don't get wax "rolling" and smoking hot! MELT - don't cook! YES - IT TAKES SOME TIME! This batch probably took me 1.5 hours to melt down - it's THAT SLOW. (DO NOT use any of those electric "hot water pots" - they're way too hot - too quick - and there's no way to regulate the heat - they are all or nothing heat sources)
Can you use a sieve? Yes - but I don't think you need to - the WAX will separate out from the impurities all by itself. Beeswax is REALLY STICKY...and you'll never use that sieve again - for anything other than this process if you do!