Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Harvesting Honey

One of my favorite things are my bees.  I don't have any pets right now, so my love and care goes to my bees.  I have my bees for several reasons.  Two reasons are they make delicious honey and they help pollinate my garden.  A bonus is they give me a chance to work with my Dad.  He has had bees most of his adult life and has much knowledge to share with me.  We are working on some bee stories to share later.
This year I had a very large bee colony which is necessary for producing honey. They have flown daily to all the flowers they could reach from daylight til dark to bring back nectar. Other bees inside the hive work constantly with special enzymes to place the nectar into the honeycomb cells.  Other bees fan their wings until the water is evaporated and honey is formed.  They are so amazing!

August is usually the month for harvesting honey here in the mountains.  (Although, different types of honey is harvested in other months.)  My Dad and I harvested a "super" which means a stack of 10 bee racks.
The "Super".
It had mostly sourwood honey which is produced from beautiful sourwood trees.  Sourwood honey is usually a light color but this year it is a little darker.  During the day you could watch the bees as they flew back and forth from the sourwood trees in my yard. 

To harvest the honey you can use an extractor or squeeze the honey from the comb through cheese cloth but this day I chose to sieve the honey.

Sieving is a slower process but the easiest to do.

1. You cut the honeycomb into 2" x 4" pieces and place them in jars.  

2.  The rest of the honey can be cut into 4 "x 4" blocks.  

3.  You then cut the back caps off the cells and place the pieces in a sieve, so they honey is left to drip out. 

4.  Then it is poured into jars.

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