Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Honey Extraction

I keep forgetting to get a final weight for the amount of honey we harvested this year but it was fairly modest. It was one PCC jumbo mayo pail's worth, whatever that weighs in at.

Update: We weighed it this afternoon: 35.4 lbs. Not too shabby. 

We also took a bit of a risk by harvesting honey that wasn't all capped. We're fairly certain that it was thisclose to being capped, and thus at the proper evaporative stage, but...ask us in 6 months and we'll let you know.

The uber fancy extractor machine. Complete with crank handle and squeaky gears:
 A view inside the extractor. One frame is in place, ready to be spun. 
 The goal was to keep this [and its associated fur]:
Out of this:
 A frame of honey, right before extracting:
 And right after. Nice and clean (and empty!)
 We used a very low tech filtering method
 which worked fairly well...
 As long as you regulated the amount of liquid emerging from the extractor. 

 Look at the lovely dark color. Yum. 
 Mom and I talked a bit about the unusually dark honey this year. You might remember that we did two harvests last year: the early season harvest was quite light in both flavor and color, the late September harvest was dark and mysterious. Darker than this one. Mom's theory is that this year, due to the rainy summer, our bees weren't able to harvest much of the nectar that yields the lighter honey. Instead, late bloomers like blackberries were the primary sources of nectar and these result in a honey that is darker in both flavor and color. 


  1. poor mama to be can't eat any honey!

  2. WHAT?!!!!!!!!!

    I know babies under 1 can't eat honey but I haven't heard anything about pregnant women. Where did you hear that?

  3. the doctor. botulism or however you spell it, is a risk for pregnant women and children under 1 it is a bad idea to get really sick while pregnant. No raw eggs, no raw fish, no honey, nothing unpasturized,etc..

  4. Interesting. There seems to be two schools of thought on this. I just got the go-ahead from my doctor on the honey issue, which is good since I eat A LOT of the stuff. Her explanation was that infants aren't able to deal with the botulism spores (their stomach acid isn't strong enough) but that the type of botulism found (exceptionally) rarely in honey doesn't pose a health risk to older children or adults, consequently making it a-ok for pregnant women since it would never reach the baby. That seems to be the general consensus online (although take that advice with a grain o' salt) and the pregnancy books we have on hand. Which is good, since life without honey would be a very gloomy day indeed. :)

  5. I think they are changing what is ok. I was always told to stay away from it. It was hard but doable. Any food bourne illness would be frightening to have when pregnant.