Sunday, June 21, 2015

Liquid Gold

We had fun extracting Geff’s first big ‘crop’ of honey today.  Thought you may enjoy seeing the process that got these pretty jars of glistening gold honey to the countertop. 



The hardest part of the process is taking care of the bees and getting them to the point of having extra honey.  Geff (a.k.a. the bee hoarder) has really come a long way in keeping strong, healthy, organically maintained hives.  He doesn’t use chemicals or pesticides in his beehives.

Nothing bad for you in this honey.

He started with a couple of supers containing frames of honeycomb.  Supers are just the hive boxes where the bees store their honey.
Here’s what a frame of capped honeycomb looks like.  The honey is fully cured when the bees have capped it.  Capping is the wax seal the bees cover the honey cells with.  
frames of honey frame of honey

He put the frame of honeycomb in a big bowl and used a uncapping fork to remove the caps off the comb.  All that hard work the bees put into storing the honey just scraped right off.  He uses a fork instead of an electric knife because it does less damage to the comb and he gives the comb back to the bees so they can reuse.                                                                

The uncapped frame of honey goes into this big monstrosity known as a honey extractor.   He has a 9 frame extractor from Maxant (the 3100h).  There are cheaper extractors on the market but this one is very sturdy, high quality stainless steel made in the USA. 

                                            Maxant 3100H

  maxant extractorframe of honey in extractor

He uncapped and added 6 frames into the extractor and then spun them round, right round.  The extractor extracts the honey from the comb without destroying it so the bees can reuse it. Extractors work by centrifugal force.  The drum holds the frames which spins, flinging the honey out.  Here’s a picture I took when he was spinning the frames that shows the honey flinging out.
  extracting honey


Oh, and we try to use equipment made in the USA as much as possible. 

made in the usa

Now the fun part, open the gate and out the honey flows.   It’s best to add a strainer to capture any wax that has dislodged.  We need to get a bigger strainer made for straining honey that fits on a bucket.  This one I had worked okay though.  

Look how clean the comb is after extracting the honey. 

Now onto bottling!  My favorite part.   We saved one honey loaded frame of comb to put in some of the larger jars.  Geff has foundationless frames which just means that his bees made all the the wax comb themselves naturally.  Lots of beekeepers use commercial foundation made from recycled wax. Researchers have found recycled wax is high in chemicals and pesticides leftover from beekeepers that use those products.  Geff doesn’t use chemicals and didn’t want any in the comb either. 

DSC_4165 DSC_4167

Finally, add the honey!   Note to self, must get bigger spout! 


Line ‘em up, cap ‘em, wipe off any sticky residue, ready to go.  Believe it or not, these are all spoken for. Hopefully we will have some for sale in the fall. 


It’s what’s for breakfast –yum!

1 comment:

mk said...

Beautiful! I love the bottles that you used. I am in my first year, but your post makes me look forward to next year.