All my California friends are doing the bee thing — meaning, they have bees and they harvest honey for fun. DON’T YOU LOVE CALIFORNIA? I swear I am going to be the first Manhattanite mother with a bee farm — really, seriously, I am doing it. Get ready, Natori Family, here come the bees! I am learning from my dear friends out west — and thankfully, my good friend, Katie, agreed to do a post on how to harvest honey — so fascinating (nature is insane, right?) — take a look!
As summer comes to a close and fall ushers in, we did our honey harvest recently to capture sweetness to carry us through the winter. Beekeeping seems intimidating from afar, but once you get into it, you see that the hard working honey bees mind their own “bzzz-ness” for the most part and the honey harvesting process is fun, easy and satisfying…truly, five simple steps!
The first step is pulling frames full of honey from the hive. We only take only half of the frames and leave the rest of the honey filled frames for the bees to feed themselves over the winter. Paul uses smoke to calm the bees while he does his work.
We don’t believe in feeding the bees anything unnatural including sugar water, so we leave them plenty of their own food that they worked so hard to make.
The bees “cap” each little space in the honeycomb so the second step is carefully de-capping the frames with a forked tool to allow the honey to flow out. You can see the beautiful honey oozing out of the de-capped spaces already.
Then we put frames, two at a time into a centrifuge that will spin out the honey.
With some friends to hold it steady and some elbow grease, Paul cranks the handles as fast as possible. Gravity does the rest of the work to spin the honey out of the frames…you can see the shadow of it on the bin.
Immediately the honey starts dripping down the sides of the tub, so be sure to have the valve at the bottom closed tight! My favorite part of the process is opening of the valve though, and seeing the beautifully thick honey pour out.
We place a filtered bin under the main centrifuge to filter out dirt and debris. Super easy, just lift off the mesh filter and what is left below is clean, pure honey. We never heat our honey – we like it raw.
Now it’s ready to bottle. It is a little messy, but amazingly any spilled honey washes up easily with just water from the garden hose.
We save jars from cream, jam, etc all year long to bottle the honey. We like small sized jars which are perfect to share with friends. Another summer, captured in a bottle!
Thank you, thank you Katie and Paul! And we know someone who would love a bottle of that goodness, wink wink.