As promised, after we harvested our honey, I got to work on part two of our harvest for the year, honey salve! My goodness is this stuff amazing. Nothing says Homesteading like collecting your honey fresh from the hive, and then using the remnants of the uncapped and unused combs to render down and make completely natural and organic skin product with. That’s called using what God gave you to the fullest!
The very first year we ever raised bees, I looked up all the different things I could do with the leftover wax. I made lipgloss, salve and soap and from then on, I was hooked. It’s a bit of work, and you get a few drops of wax in the oddest places in your kitchen when you’re working with it, but the end result outweighs the awful mess of cleanup.
This year I put most of my efforts into making my honey salve as this has proved to be the most popular product with our friends and family. It’s pretty much the exact same recipe as how I make the lip gloss, so you can use it for that as well. The only difference is that I don’t add the scented essential oils, like coconut, fruits, or seasonal flavors like candy cane.
Bees are amazing creatures, and I can’t ever say enough about how much we have fallen in love with them and this little hobby we have of working with them. Honey is such a natural healer. Whether it be eating a spoonful when you have a sore throat, substituting honey in place of sugar, and maybe most powerful, the healing properties for your skin. I have had mild bouts of eczema since I was a child. My hands tend to get it the worst, and over the years I had gone to various doctors for prescription skin creams that temporarily took it away, but never completely, and never well. As an adult, I don’t suffer from it much anymore, but I do occasionally get a random dry spot. This is the first topical cream I go to. I rub a little in, and immediately the itching goes away, and within a day or two it’s completely gone. I have friends and family that have the exact same issues, and much worse, and it has totally taken away rashes, skin conditions and issues with itching or cracking of skin.
The other thing I love is that I trust it for my little boy. No matter what kind of scratch or cut he has, the first thing we do is put some honey salve on it and usually by the next day it’s already on the mend. My favorite thing with using it on Judah is for his little lips. You know how kids sometimes lick their lips over and over when they’re outside and it’s dry, and they don’t stop until they have that painful red ring around their mouth? Judah can be pretty bad for this in cold weather, so I try to keep it on him, but at night time when he goes to bed, I put a good amount on him and by morning it’s sometimes totally gone, or at least close to it.
There is nothing on the market that could ever sway me, natural or not. I love knowing where all of my ingredients have come from, that our bees have produced this product from plants and bushes that are organic, not sprayed with chemicals and that I’ve made it myself in my own home. It’s a good feeling to know what you are putting onto your body as well as your family.
There are countless recipes for making these products online, but over the years I have made it my own and would love to share it, because it’s just that great! So here’s our Scarlett Homestead Honey Salve, and how we do it.
10 ounces (283 grams) – Pure, organic almond oil
2 ounces (57 grams) – fresh wax from honeycomb
2 tablespoons – organic honey
2 capsules of Vitamin E (drain the liquid out – don’t use the casing)
12 drops of all natural peppermint essential oil (optional)
I start with this massive wheel of wax. To get this wax to this state was a process. After we harvested our honey, we took unused honeycomb from the frames, pieces that had fallen out, as well as the scraps we scraped off of the frames when we were uncapping the honey. It’s a terrible, awful mess. And it looks gross. The idea that you would take something that looks like it should be garbage, and then want to make something from it to later put on your skin is a little hard to imagine, but stay with me.
My husband did the dirty work thankfully. He took all this wax and transferred it to a stock pot on a burner. He added about a gallon of water to it so that he could let it melt, slow and low, and let it all come to a rolling boil. Some people may not use water for this process, but he does because it ensures no burning. Let it boil for a few minutes. Then, ever so carefully (that’s insanely hot wax!) pour it through a strainer into a container and let it harden. The strainer will catch the debris (by debris, I mean bits and pieces of bees. Sad, but true) and the cleaned wax will slowly begin to harden and will separate from the water and float to the top. You end up with a hardened disc of wax that’s been cleaned and ready for the next step.
As you can see, there’s still some debris in there. This needs to be purified again. Rob cut it into 4 smaller pieces for me and I got to work to repeat the melting process. I keep my burner on low and melt the wax in a cooking pot (used only for this…don’t use your good stuff, you’ll regret it!). I watch it very carefully, stirring so there’s no burning and let it totally melt. It does not have to boil.
Then I take that liquid gold and pour it through a very fine strainer lined with a cheesecloth. At this point you don’t want to see one spec of anything in there. This stuff is purified from being boiled and strained twice so it’s very clean!
Look at how beautiful that came out. It’s a dark wax, but once it’s hardens, it is as light and smooth as butter.
Check out that beautiful light color when it’s hard. Gorgeous!
Before I get to work on the salve, I take time to set everything up. I line my countertops with kitchen linens because inevitably, you drip wax. You just have to resign yourself. So don’t use anything too nice. Then I bought a bunch of cosmetic containers in various sizes, online through Amazon. There’s so many options and it’s overwhelming. You just need to decide the size you want and quantity and color and try to narrow it down. I like simple, so I go for clear, small round containers. The size you might want to carry in your purse or cosmetic bag. And yes, I’m incredibly organized and odd, so I can’t just toss them on the counter all “willy nilly”. I line them up. Perfectly spaced with about two inches between each so that you can easily pour and access them. Can you say anal retentive? Maybe, but your life will be made easier when it comes time to pour hot wax into a very small container.
Then I get my ingredients ready. Wax, honey, almond oil, peppermint oil, vitamin E capsules and a small kitchen scale for weighing the wax and oil.
Start adding all these ingredients into an old pot on your stove on very low heat. My clean wax looks odd here but it had hardened already so it needs to turn to liquid again.
It’s all melting together and you want to stir constantly until it’s all a liquid and combined.
Once it’s all combined, take it from the pot and pour it into a pouring container with a very fine spout on the end. You could also use a small funnel if you were pouring into traditional lip gloss tubes.
Then one at a time, you start pouring this golden goodness into each container. My sister was over and helping me do this so I actually made her pour for me. She’s much more careful and quick. I’m quick, but clumsy. Not a good combination when doing this!
You do want to pour as quickly as you can. Wax begins to harden incredibly fast, so you want to pour it out at a steady pace.
I made two batches of this recipe to fill up about 75 small containers of 8 oz and 10 oz sizes. In only a few minutes the salve has hardened already. You still want to keep it out and uncovered for maybe a good hour so it can totally cool before putting the lids on.
But once you do, you have a perfectly packaged little jar of salve.
I put our Scarlett Homestead labels on them and will later package them for small gifts for friends and family this Christmas.
Pair these little gems with a jar of honey and you have a great all natural, homemade gift to give.
We are so thankful that we have our honey bees and all that they provide for us every year. It is nothing short of amazing what you can do with every last bit of what they make, and we take none of it for granted.
– The Homesteaders Wife