How to Extract Honey

Our PTF gardening guru, Elizabeth, who owns a CSA farm a few miles from town (Amazing Heart Farm) recently got some bee hives from one of her CSA shareholders, Jim.  He invited the three of us over on Tuesday to learn how to extract honey from the hive frames.  So we headed over to Waynesboro and learned a thing or two.

The first step was to bring all of the frames inside; we had about 17 frames (3 from Elizabeth and 14 from Jim) and we made sure there were no honeybees still clinging on!

Some of the frames, fresh from the hive!

Some of the frames, fresh from the hive!

Honeycomb

Honeycomb

Next, we plugged in an uncapping knife that looks kind of like a pie cutter and it heats up.  We used this tool to melt off the outer layer of wax from the frames so that the honey was exposed.

Jim showing us how to melt the wax

Jim showing us how to melt the wax

Us trying it

Us trying it

Jasmine using a comb to removeg the bits of wax that the uncapping knife couldn't reach

Jasmine using a comb to remove the bits of wax that the uncapping knife couldn’t reach

We then put the frames into a specially crafted cylindrical metal extractor.

Elizabeth & Jasmine putting the frames in

Elizabeth & Jasmine putting the frames in

The frames sitting in the extractor

The frames sitting in the extractor (and honey at the bottom!)

Adjusting the frames

Adjusting the frames

We hand-spun it around, causing the honey to fly out of the combs from the centrifugal force.  It then collected at the bottom of the tank.  We opened a lever at the bottom, allowing the honey to spill out and flow through two mesh screens- one with large holes and one with fine holes.

The honey flowing out into the screens

The honey flowing out into the screens

And that was it!  We made roughly 32 mason jars worth of honey!  It was delicious 🙂  The honey from Elizabeth’s frames was a little more floral-tasting than Jim’s because there are more wildflowers and fruit bushes at her farm.  Jim’s was darker and more woody tasting because of the pollen from the trees in his yard.

We also enjoyed the company of Jim’s 3 cats, Rufus, Fig Tree, and Truffles.

Truffles in a box

Truffles in a box

Directions on extracting honey

In other news, we made a delicious stir fry yesterday with some of our own asparagus, walking onions & kale, snap peas from Elizabeth’s farm, and beet greens & bok choi from Broad Valley Orchard CSA.

Our creation!

Our creation!

As well as a strawberry rhubarb pie with rhubarb from PTF and strawberries from the Gettysburg Farmer’s Market.

Lattice-top for style

Lattice-top for style

Bon Appetit!

-Adrienne & Jasmine

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One thought on “How to Extract Honey

  1. Pingback: Extracting Honey Summer 2013 | The Dark Queen

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