We’ve spent the last few days extracting and bottling our honey harvest — all 300 pounds of it! Here’s how we get it out of the comb and into the jar…
First: getting ready. The labels are stamped, the extractor set up, the supers of honey stacked and ready to go. Ahh, everything looks so nice and neat and non-sticky… but that won’t last for long!
We begin by “uncapping” the combs, so the honey can run out. To do this, you use a heated knife to slice through the wax covers that seal the cells. The knife needs to be just hot enough to cut easily through the wax, but not to burn the honey.
An uncapped comb of luminous blackberry honey, ready to extract:
Next, the frames of comb and honey go into the extractor, which works kind of like a washing machine on the “spin” cycle. This extractor can hold four frames of honey at once, and is powered by elbow grease!
As the basket spins, the honey is pulled out of the comb by centrifugal force; then it collects in the bottom of the tank, where it runs out into a bowl or bucket. With this extractor, you spin the honey out of one side of the comb, turn the frames, and then repeat for the other side. Multiply that by 10 frames per super, 14 supers total… whew!
When the honey comes out of the extractor, it’s full of bits of wax from the uncapped combs. We pour it through a stainless-steel mesh small enough to catch the wax flecks, but nowhere near so fine as to filter out the tiny grains of pollen in the honey — the good stuff!
It takes a good day’s work to get through all those frames… and the honey-extracting process does seem to attract an audience! Family and friends drift in until the little honey house is cozily crowded.
And, finally, into the jar it goes. Ready for the farmer’s market!
You can see all the action in this swell video Mikail made of the day’s work:
(We’ll be at the Foothill Farmer’s Markets in the next week or so — or drop us a note if you’d like to pick up a jar!)