So, if you remember from my last post we were out at Granite Forest Farms doing bee stuff. Well, I was doing bee stuff. Kat was doing non-bee stuff cause she hates things buzzing around her head.
As you may recall, they had many hives that had died, which was quite tragic. However, this also meant that there were many hives that had full frames of honey in them because the bees never ate them. A frame of raw honey comb looks like this.
Well, Laura and Derek were very generous and gave us a frame and a half of raw honey comb to take home, which was pretty awesome of them. Of course, we then had to ask, how to get the honey out of the comb? Living in the trailer, our tools and supplies are quite limited as we don’t have a lot of space. However, I managed to rig something up to accomplish this task.
Let’s start with a big jar, a funnel and a strainer. We used a plastic strainer only because it was the only one we had. You really want to use a wire mesh one as you’ll get better results. You can see in the picture, I used some duct tape to keep the funnel attached to the jar, and the frames of honey comb in the back ground.
Once I had that setup, I used a spatula to take the honey comb off the frame and into the strainer. You invariably get some on your fingers, so this is a pretty tasty exercise.
Once you fill up the strainer, I used a wooden spoon to stir it up and break up the larger pieces of honey comb.
And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more. It’s a slow process doing it this way. Also, with using the spatula, you do leave a bit of honey left stuck to the frame. I had this brilliant idea that I should hang the frame over the strainer and let it drain its honey. It took me a while to figure out how and where to do that in the trailer, but I eventually came up with this solution.
Nothing like making good use of those clamps I bought. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work. Oh we got the honey separated from the wax, but the stuff left on the frame never drained off it. Oh well. If and when we get to working with our own bees, maybe we’ll invest in one of those honey comb spinner thingies that works kinda like a lettuce spinner to extract the honey from the frames much faster than doing it this way.
Anyway, we let that first batch drain overnight and by the next morning we had close to 400ml of honey. Not bad at all. That was only half a frame (one side) too.
We also ended up with a pile of bees wax. Maybe we’ll melt it down and make our own candles, or maybe we’ll use it to seal up holes in the trailer. Its uses are pretty unlimited.
The first batch went really well, so I loaded up the strainer with the rest of the honey comb – a full frame’s worth (both sides) – for the second batch. We had an excruciatingly exacting set of inspectors watching the whole process, making sure nothing was going to waste.
After another lengthy wait, we ended up with close to 1200ml of honey. It’s not super filtered, obviously, but we’re certainly not complaining.
How many people get to say they extracted their own honey? We’re very happy with what we got, especially since we had a harsh winter and good honey may become a very scarce/expensive item.
Thank you Laura and Derek for this awesome experience 😀