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From Hive to Honey – Honey Harvesting by Hand

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harvesting honey

Gardening is a hobby my dad has done for years. I remember being little and helping him water the fruit trees. 1,2,3… I would count slowly until I reached 30, the moment it was okay to move to the next plant. As time went on, it didn’t surprise the family too much when we started finding beekeeping catalogs arrive in the mail, followed by a bee suit a few weeks later.

My grandpa on my dad’s side was a beekeeper and the tradition had passed down. It may have been delayed some, but I still think my grandpa would be proud. Although we don’t have the fields of hives like you see on some of the T.V. shows, between two families we have three top-bar hives that make for PLENTY of fresh, local honey. You can see a video of us loading the hive here.

Sine we don’t have any professional equipment for extracting or harvesting the honey, it becomes a family ordeal to get the job done as quickly as possible! (Harvesting honey makes a HUGE, sticky mess, and my mom’s kitchen is unfortunately always the chosen kitchen!)

To be completely honest, this part is not fun, but the taste of the golden honey is so much better than anything you can buy in a grocery store that it makes it worth it! (This year, my sister saved the wax so she and I can make candles, soaps, and lip glosses out of it. Can’t wait! 🙂 )

I decided to document some of the process so those who don’t know, or have never seen a real honeycomb up-close can get an inside look.

Here is the process straight from hive to honey!

First, my brother-in-law collected all of the bars from the hive. I stayed clear on this part because I didn’t have a suit on.

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

Then, you have to break the seals on the honeycombs, which are made of the beeswax, to release the honey.

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

Once the honey has drained, we use a large strainer to remove any wax. Then the honey takes a second sloooowwerrrr journey through a super-fine mesh sieve.

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

harvesting honey

Next it is time to sterilize those jars! When they are nice and clean, we transfer the honey to a pitcher and pour away!

harvesting honey

At my house, my yard is not ready for a hive, but maybe one day. I am slowly getting my backyard space in order and am excited to start documenting my gardening adventures with you all. 🙂 Who knows… maybe some buzzy little friends will come and visit when things start to bloom.

Have you ever tried fresh honey? Do you have a favorite?