One of many nice issues about beekeeping as a pastime is that you’re by no means in need of items for family and friends . A jar or two of honey as a substitute of a bottle of wine – or along with a bottle of wine – for dinner events is all the time acquired with enthusiasm.
In your first yr or two of beekeeping honey won’t be out there in extra. You get caught out by swarming otherwise you lose the colony by means of poor mite administration.
Nevertheless, with somewhat extra consideration to swarm prevention / management and well timed utility of miticides your colony energy will increase. Your colony numbers additionally in all probability improve. Collectively these, coupled with beneficial climate and a geographically well-sited apiary, guarantee a superb honey crop.
You’ll by no means once more be in need of a final minute reward 🙂
However bees don’t solely produce honey
With rising hive numbers additionally, you will begin producing surplus wax. Bits of brace comb, wax cappings or wax melted out in a steam wax extractor … all of it begins so as to add up.
Earlier than you understand it you’ve acquired a couple of kilograms of wax and it’s essential discover one thing inventive to do with it.
Or uncreative … the best resolution is to commerce it in for contemporary basis . The block proven above has been filtered by means of a sheet of kitchen paper and within reason clear. In my expertise, the wax doesn’t must be something like this clear to nonetheless be acceptable for trade.
In fact, the apparent factor to do with extra wax is to make candles.
You want good portions of good high quality wax, a bain-marie, moulds, wicks and considerably extra talent than I’ve acquired . It’s additionally helpful to have a really understanding and affected person partner … there will probably be spillages 🙁
Alternatively, with comparatively little wax you possibly can simply make beeswax wraps to seal meals – or meals containers – within the fridge or for lunches.
‘The eco-friendly, plastic free, various to clingfilm’.
That’s how Thorne’s advertises the beeswax wraps they promote. At two for about £13 (24 cm sq.) or three for £6 (12 cm sq.) they don’t seem to be cheap … and once you see how straightforward they’re to make your self you’ll a) be gobsmacked/impressed on the revenue margin and, b) need to make some your self to be used or gifting.
We’ve been utilizing industrial (a present, in a coals to Newcastle method, from a non-beekeeper) or home made wraps for not less than a yr now. Those I’ve made are not less than nearly as good because the industrial ones, although they don’t come within the good brown recycled packaging .
For those who get your skates on you in all probability have ample time to organize these earlier than Christmas for final minute, in individual, items.
If I’d written this a month or two in the past you’d have additionally had time to submit them – they usually’re ideally suited for this for apparent causes – however the final posting date for Christmas was in all probability in October 🙁
The wraps are beeswax-impregnated cotton material of some kind. I’ve used plain or patterned cotton of a wide range of colors. Relying upon the standard of the wax the fabric will discolour barely, so it often helps to have an off-white color to start out with.
I’ve no thought of the density or weight of the material. For comparability, I’d say it was much like sheets or pillowcases.
The beeswax is ready with jojoba oil (to offer some antibacterial properties), almond oil (to extend pliability) and powdered pine rosin (to offer the ‘tack’ or stickiness).
You’ll want the next:
- Cotton material minimize into suitably-sized items. Use pinking shears to generate a run-free edge.
- 100 g clear, filtered beeswax.
- 10 g jojoba oil (100 ml @ £6.49) .
- 10 g almond oil (500 ml @ £6.99).
- 70 g powdered pine rosin (500 g for £8.99).
The pine rosin (the left-overs from turpentine distillation from pine resin) is often bought in yellow to amber-coloured translucent lumps. Earlier than use it must be floor right into a powder. I take advantage of a pestle and mortar however I believe you possibly can do a a lot sooner job with a espresso grinder .
Along with the components above additionally, you will want a restricted quantity of further ‘tools’:
- some technique of melting the components and holding them at temperature. A gradual cooker is right for this function although you possibly can additionally do that in a home made bain-marie (e.g. a pyrex bowl in a saucepan of water over a low and controllable warmth). Wax is flammable. Take care.
- a metallic oven tray and an oven to place it in.
- baking parchment.
- a devoted poor high quality paintbrush. ‘Devoted’ as will probably be ineffective for the rest afterwards. ‘Poor high quality’ as we’re not discussing advantageous artwork right here … it’s only for spreading the melted stuff evenly over the material.
- disposable picket stirring sticks (lolly sticks, or comparable).
- Add the powdered pine rosin to the gradual cooker and permit it to soften with occasional stirring. I set my gradual cooker on medium warmth for this.
- Add the remaining components to the melted rosin. I weigh the oils and add the stable wax and permit the whole lot to soften along with extra mild stirring.
- Pre-warm the oven to ~125°C.
- When the combo is prepared place the metallic oven tray lined with a sheet of baking parchment and the primary piece of pre-cut material within the oven for a few minutes.
- Place the pre-warmed metallic tray and material on a heatproof and newspaper-covered floor and ‘paint’ the material with the beeswax combine. To cut back drips from the paintbrush I take advantage of an outdated espresso scoop so as to add the beeswax combine to the material after which unfold it evenly with the paintbrush.
- Put the tray and coated material again within the oven for 2 minutes.
- Take away once more and use the paintbrush to make sure the beeswax combine is unfold evenly, with no lumpy bits or extra. This often includes utilizing the paintbrush to form of unfold the surplus off to the edges .
- Carry the now lined material wrap by two corners and maintain over the metallic tray (not the ground!) for 15 seconds or so to catch any drips. Keep in mind, it’s more likely to nonetheless be scorching. Use tongs of some kind when you have heat-sensitive fingers.
- Lay the completed wrap apart as soon as it’s sufficiently cool. This takes only a few seconds. You’ll typically see directions to hold these on a drying rack however I’ve by no means bothered.
- Add one other piece of cloth and return to #4 in these directions. Repeat till you’ve run out of beeswax combine, material or persistence.
As soon as cooled they are often folded gently and saved.
The portions by weight within the components checklist above are ample to make (not less than) a few dozen wraps . If that’s greater than you want, or if you wish to put together the beeswax combine in bulk upfront, merely pour it into an acceptable container (e.g. a plastic ice cream tub) that has been pre-treated with one thing like FloPlast Silicone Spray to permit its straightforward elimination for re-melting.
You may make massive wraps appropriate for a loaf of bread in the identical method. Simply fold the material over in order that it suits onto the metallic tray. Flip it over to make sure that the material is full impregnated with the beeswax combine.
I discovered the recipe above someplace on-line. I attempted a pair and this labored greatest for me .
The wraps I make are somewhat thicker and fairly a bit ‘tackier’ than the industrial ones I’ve seen.
I’m utilizing cheesy right here as an adjective that means ‘sticky’ … not because the casual ‘poor style or high quality’ !
This tackiness is a bonus because it is a bit more self-adhesive once you’re wrapping issues, and it in all probability makes the wrap final somewhat longer as effectively. You may in all probability scale back the rosin content material to make a ‘drier’ beeswax wrap, however I can’t assure it would keep wrapped.
The identical types of steering applies to using these wraps as any industrial ones. Don’t use them to wrap uncooked meat or fish. In the event that they get soiled wash them in lukewarm water with a really small quantity of detergent. In the event that they lose their ‘stick’ revitalise them by putting them within the over for five minutes at 125°C.
Have enjoyable 🙂
Elaine Robinson, a daily reader and commenter, despatched me an outline of another method of making ready and making use of the beeswax combine. Having combined the components she pours it onto a wetted piece of plywood the place it units in a skinny sheet.
Having floated this off in water she freezes it – or them because it is smart to organize quite a bit upfront – in a bathtub after which, by merely shaking the bathtub, turns it into damaged shards.
Utilizing about 16 g of shards per 30 cm sq. wrap Elaine stacks the material and shards on a baking tray and locations them in an oven at ~80°C.
After melting the whole lot all that’s then wanted is a brush to make sure the sides of every of the beeswax wraps are totally lined … adopted by folding the wraps and popping them into some very neat custom-made brown paper sleeves that she additionally prints at house.
Which look very spectacular and made my efforts look moderately insufficient 😉