Our First Honey Harvest (2012)

I’m in the process of consolidating some blogs and I found this post from 2012. When we first harvested honey, we only took a couple frames, so it was easy enough to do it by hand. Since then, we’ve used an extractor, but I thought this was worth a repost. Proof that you don’t need expensive equipment… just time! 

So fall is the time of year when beekeepers harvest honey. The bees store honey as food to get them through the winter. In order for humans to take this honey (1) there needs to be a surplus and/or (2) you must supplement your bees with sugar water. The husband and I have decided to feed our bees as little as possible and let nature take it’s course. However, we were surprised with the amount of honey they stored and decided to harvest 2 frames. There were about 12 frames of honey so we’ve left plenty for the bees!

If you have tons of honey to process or want to keep the comb in tact, you must purchase an extractor:

These are giant centrifuges and run between $200-$400 depending on the size. These basically spin and whip all the honey out. We do not have one of these, so we did it by hand.

Here is the first frame. The light yellow part is the cap over the honey. Both sides of the frame look like this and both sides contain honey.

Then you use a sharp knife to scrape the caps off. You can see (below the knife) honey is oozing out and running down the frame.

More oozing…

Top half: honey. Bottom half: capped honey.

Pile of comb:

We repeated the process on the other side of the frame, then strained the honey through this wire mesh strainer twice.

Then we strained the honey through an even finer strainer (from our coffee pot!) to ensure that we caught any impurities.

Then we packaged it in jars! I used the flash in this picture so it looks like it’s glowing, but that was the only way to show you how completely clear, smooth, and delicious it looks!  One frame (front and back) yielded 4 cups of honey.

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