Glorious golden raw honey from my very own bees
Sunday, 09 January 2011
Remember my backyard bees? I sadly had to say goodbye to my bee hive almost a year ago because of an unhappy neighbour. Close neighbours are definitely one of the major downsides of living in an urban area.
The hive has been living in the country near my Dad's place since then. I finally had the chance to harvest some glorious golden raw honey from my hive over the christmas holidays.
How gorgeous is this honey!
Here's my hive in it's new home. Surrounded by fields of Canola and an incredible amount of Scotch Thistle. Both much loved by honey bees.
Want to know a little about how honey is extracted?
Here's how we extracted our simple raw honey.
Before we opened the hive we calmed the bees down with smoke. After opening the top of the hive we removed each frame and brushed all the bees off. A sting on the thigh reminded my Dad not to brush the bees onto your shoes, because they'll quickly climb under your pants and up your legs.
Here's Daddy Eco in his safety gear. The only protective clothing we bought was the net veil. He wore jeans tucked into his socks, a long sleeve shirt, rubber gloves, and a wide-brimmed hat covered with the veil. It's a good look isn't it.
You can buy big fancy suits, hoods and gloves, but really all you need to do is ensure your skin is totally covered and there is nowhere the bees can crawl into.
We placed the frames to be extracted into a box we had waiting in the car.
Little Eco insisted on sampling every frame.
To extract the honey we first removed the caps with an electric uncapping knife. The cappings are collected and melted down to get the wax.
We then placed the frames (three at a time) into an extractor. Each frame is spun first with one side outward, then flipped to expose the other side. The honey flows out of the honeycomb and drips down the inside of the drum to collect at the bottom of the extractor....
...where it pours into a bucket below. We didn't filter our honey and simply let it settle in the buckets for a while, waiting for any little bits of wax to float the top. I'm impatient, so we're planning to buy a strainer so we don't have to wait for the settling next time.
We have a tap on the bottom of the buckets and the following day we simply poured the honey into jars.
Little Eco was one very proud bottler.
With all this honey to enjoy, I've been checking out honey recipes. Here's a few I plan to try soon.
Vegetables with honey mustard sauce
Do you know any good honey recipes? Please share.
I'm also thinking of brewing a batch of Mead. Anyone know what it tastes like? Or tried making it?