• How do I extract Honey?

    How do I extract honey?

    Raw, unfiltered honey. What does that mean?

    Raw – means it is not heated above the natural bee hive temperature. Honeybees keep the hive at 36C and I normally extract at room temperature 20C but some thicker honeys can’t be removed at this temperature so I will warm the frames of honey, very slowly, to natural honeybee hive temperatures. Honey heated above this natural temperature cannot be classed as raw. If the honey is heated far above this, all the natural ‘goodness’ vitamins, minerals and good enzymes are all killed off and the honey looses a lot of its natural properties.

    Unfiltered – As you extract the honey, chunks of beeswax can fall out with the honey. I remove these using a normal large mesh sieve like in most kitchens. But natural particles of pollen are left in and are not filtered out using this size mesh. This way my honey can be classed as unfiltered as I have not removed the tiny pollen particles that may be in the honey.

    How do I extract the honey from the hive?

    I remove frames that the bees have filled with beeswax cells and those cells are filled with honey. I know the honey is ready (and no longer nectar) when the bees have capped the cells with a small piece of beeswax. Like putting a lid on a jar. These frames are filled with hundreds of tiny jars. I first uncap the honey (remove the lids made from beeswax), using a cold but sharp knife. Then pop the frames in an extractor. The beeswax cappings (lids) are the best quality beeswax, as it has not been coloured or scented by honey, pollen or brood (baby bees).

    I use a honey extractor that uses centrifugal force to draw all the honey out of the frames. Centrifugal force is the same force that keeps astronauts, spaceships and satellites from falling to earth by gravity. Amazing. So the honey is spun out of the cells, hits the side of the extractor and drips down to the bottom of the extractor. When there is enough honey I open a honey gate (special tap) to jar up the honey.

     

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