While we wait for our new bees to arrive, it seemed an opportune time to harvest a little bit of honey. You know, while they’re not there to sting us and all? Al, our bee guy, advised us not to take all of it, but he did say a few frames would be OK. So here goes, our first honey harvest.
Here, we easily take a few frames from the empty hive.
Normally, you’re meant to do this when it’s warmer, so they honey will flow easier. It was about 50 degrees out. So we left the honey near the heaters in the kitchen for a little while to soften and flow:
That in front there is the handy-dandy centrifuge extractor thingy that our friend John lent us. It will make honey-getting much easier.
After the honey is slightly warm, you first use a hot knife — we dipped it in boiling water — to cut the cap of the wax off. Here is the knife in action.
You can, if you’re so inclined, purchase an electric knife for this. Might be easier, but more expensive.
Afterwards, you can use this metal instrument to remove any rogue pieces of wax still in your way:
(This photo is before we realized the knife would do a much better job, so please ignore the fact that the wax cap is still on the frame. Hey, we’re newbies here. We’re learning as we go …)
The honey extracting process is a serious mess and one of those chores where if you’re prone to fighting or even just snapping at each other, believe me, it will happen:
One all the wax is off, you will have this beautiful frame full of golden honey:
Now it is time to place the frame into the extractor. (Do I sound like I’m narrating a science fiction movie?)
The trick to this is to churn the honey for a little while, then flip the frames so more honey is on the outside than facing in. That way the honey will come off the comb evenly and the comb won’t break and fall into the chasm of the centrifuge, rendering your process a failure.
I will show you the bottling process once I’ve put those photos together. Until then, know that this tastes sweet and floral. Just heavenly!