Saturday, September 4, 2010

Harvesting the Honey

If you've kept up with my pitifully neglected blog, you've seen that I got to try my hand at beekeeping this summer. Since my first visit with these Uddermost Homesteaders, I've been enjoying the local raw honey produced there.
It's truly wonderfully delicious!

After playing beekeeper, I was invited back to Uddermost Farm to watch as honey was extracted from the honeycomb panels. When I arrived, Amelia and Scott had already begun the extraction process. As I entered their work area, I could feel and smell the warmth of the honey.

Each honeycomb is covered by the bees with a layer of wax that caps the honey so as to protect it. This cap needs to be taken off before the panel is placed into the spinning extractor.

Scott has an electric hot knife with which he sliced away the cap of this honeycomb. Some of the luscious honey ran from the honeycomb onto a tray. You can see the knife on the lower side of this photo - it kind of blends in with the tray. This capping, if I remember correctly, is the most pure wax in the comb. It's used for making lip balm. I dipped my finger into this first golden honey.
It was oh so sweet and pure - simply divine.

Some of the panels had uneven capping - not suitable to be upcapped with the hot knife. For these, Scott and Amelia used an ordinary table fork to break open each cell.

Then the panels went into the spinning extractor. The honey flew out of the panels onto the sides of the spinning barrel, dripping down the inside of the barrel to the bottom, through the filter where it waited to be tapped. Scott opened the tap and out flowed that raw virgin nectar into a waiting jar.

From flowers to the hives, to a mason jar. Yes, it sounds simple, but to me it's a miracle that blesses our tastebuds with the sweet nectar of the honeybees.

Do you know that each cell of a honeycomb is a structure all to itself, backing up to each surrounding cell? Amazing!

The capping that the bees place over their celled honeycombs to protect their contents also protect their larvae, their brood, their babies.

I wish I had words to accurately describe the true taste of honey.

I can't seem to find the words. How would you describe it?