Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Making Bayberry Wax

On a cool gray day in early Fall, my son and I collected bayberries from some shrubs near our house.

Although the berries were clustered thickly on the branches, it took us a long time to pick as many as we wanted.

We collected a few cups of bayberries. The whitish gray stuff on the berries is a natural wax.

We put them in a pot with some water and simmered them for a long time, until we could see puddles of wax floating on top of the water. After the water cooled, the wax hardened, and we could easily pick it out of the pot. This is what it looks like below. It is a pale green color, and smells wonderful.

There is very little of it, and I marvel at the effort involved to create candles with wax, as the English settlers at Plymouth Plantation did. To make a small candle we would have to melt it with beeswax. I haven't done it yet because lots of people have wanted to see what real bayberry wax looks like. If you would like to learn what other ways the English settlers at Plymouth Plantation used to generate light, click on the title of this post and read "Make an Olive Oil Lamp."

12 comments:

Amanda said...

I love reading about the experiences you and your family have to collect and create things as the early settlers did. What a fantastic opportunity!

Imene said...

I am always amazed at the efforts it takes to makes the smallest things. I guess our society has reached a point where we stop associating the cost and effort.
I love when you remind me that!

Beth said...

Imene, That's such a great way of putting it! Goodness, labor was so intensive. It's almost mind-boggling. love, Beth

Prettydreamer said...

Wonderful post, Beth! We will have to wander about a bit and see if we might find a bush or two. thanks so much for sharing!~Pamela

Shona Cole said...

oh my, the time involved is amazing. what a good reminder to really appreciate what we have today and how not having to make our own food or candles has given us the freedom to focus on other things like art and crafts and blogging. I think it is good for kids to do home science and baking and things so that they can also learn to appreciate everything we have. They are so use to going to the store and buying whatever (as are their parents ;), doing things the slow way can be an eye opener to them.

Hallie said...

We too are interested in a simpler life, tankyou so much for sharing so many great pictures and ideas with us!

I am giving you the versatile blogger award! Please stop by for more details!

www.ourbrokenroad.blogspot.com

hands follow heart said...

Wow, I had never heard of bayberries. Thanks for sharing this little piece of history!
Luciana

karen said...

how very interesting, ive never heard of this before. thanks for sharing and enjoy your little candle when its made:)

Bending Birches said...

interesting....and I love your photographs..

arianne said...

This is so cool. Thanks for sharing.

messyfish said...

wow! I know I wouldnt have the patience!!??

Zenifer Dsouza said...

Wow ! what an interesting blog.Thanks for sharing this information.Your information is really informative for us.
Nice blog on Bayberry wax
.
Keep sharing more & more.....