None of Your Beeswax
Here in the soap studio lately, I've been experimenting with honeycomb from the hives at Monticello's gardens. If you get a chance to visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home in Charlottesville, VA, stop by their gift shop and find Pleasant View Soaps products created using their herbs and flowers...and soon, beeswax.
Keep reading if you want to know about the process of including beeswax in soap! I was sent a sizable amount of raw honeycomb to render into wax. It was my first attempt at doing so, but it worked out just fine. This is what the fresh jumbled honeycomb off the hives looks like before processing:
Bundled up tightly in cheesecloth (or a clean threadbare dishtowel, haha), the honeycomb is placed in simmering water to allow the wax to melt and to filter out any unwanted debris, such as bee parts or honey.
The wax melts and floats to the brim of the pot of water, leaving the "gunk" below and in the cheesecloth.
After leaving the wax to cool and harden, I could lift a disk of filtered beeswax off the top to then trim and use. I will likely take it through a second melting to further purify the wax. I thought the below round of beeswax looked like some kind of flan dessert with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top - not quite!
I then chopped and melted the pure beeswax to stir into a new soap recipe. Beeswax provides some hardness to a bar of soap when used in certain amounts.
I even swirled some Monticello honey into this test batch and created a honeycomb pattern on the top of the soaps....using bubble-wrap. It will be named Honeycomb soap and will be sold exclusively in the Monticello catalog, coming out next year!
If you're interested in a similar soap, visit the shop for our Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey soap, an unscented and mild treat.