Make Plantain Wax Flakes for Homemade Salves
Wax flakes for salves are easy to make and you can save yourself the onerous task of grating wax and forever ruining your cheese grater.
Lay a piece of lint-free cloth (flour sack/bed sheet type cloth) on the floor, place a block of clean wax on one half of the cloth and cover the wax with the rest of the cloth. Using a hammer, hit the top of the cloth a few times, breaking the wax into big chunks. Place a metal or glass bowl in a pot of water and heat on low. Place the wax chunks into the bowl. As the water heats, the wax will melt. Store a butter knife (to be used again later) in a coffee cup nearby and occasionally use it for stirring the wax, to speed up the melting process.
Meanwhile, prepare several pizza pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use wax paper if you must, but with parchment paper, you can use it again and again for the same project. Press the parchment paper into the creases of the pan and fold it so that it lays as flat as possible. Use 4 clothes pins spaced equally apart to hold the parchment paper in place.
Place a folded kitchen towel near the stove. When the wax melts, remove the bowl from the pot of hot water, set briefly on the towel to remove residual water drips, and pour a very thin layer (1/8 inch or less) onto the parchment paper.
If the wax pools in the middle and doesn’t reach the edge, use your finger to press the paper down and the melted wax will follow your finger and spread out. Don’t worry if the wax doesn’t reach the edge of the pan. The thickness in the deepest area is the most important thing.
When the wax becomes opaque, and is no longer liquid, do a test cut into the wax with your butter knife. If it doesn’t ooze in the middle or at the bottom, score the rest of the wax into a 1-inch grid.
When done scoring, bring the hot water that melted your wax up to a boil and put on dish gloves. Add dish liquid to that water and clean the wax from your melting bowl and knife, pouring the rinse water outside so as to not clog your drains.
Let the wax chips cool to room temp. If you try to break the wax into chips and the wax flexes, it’s not ready. When it snaps like a cracker, then it’s ready. Break into chips at the score lines and store in a container for future use. They are easy to snap into pieces when weighing out wax for salve.
For instructions on how to finish your salve, and for more information about plantain, see: Plantain: The Little Big Weed.
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