Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Apiarist for a Day



I was recently bequeathed three buckets filled with the remnants of a giant beehive. 

So I set out to make some honey.

Note: You might think this is a post about honey, but it's really a post about trust. As in, do you trust the internet? I had no idea what I was doing. Based on my research, making honey seems like a really complicated process. I didn't want to get into all that, so I found a website that had straightforward instructions more to my liking and somewhat followed those. Proceed with caution. 


The honey was mixed in with a lot of dead bees and honeycomb pieces, so I first strained out all of that junk with a wide mesh sieve. I squeezed the large honeycomb pieces to extract as much honey from them as I could. 


The honey still had a lot of particles in it, so I strained it two more times, once with a fine mesh sieve and again with cheesecloth.

     

After the cheesecloth strain, the honey was gorgeously translucent, but the canner in me decided to cook it to get rid of any hidden contaminants.


I cooked the honey to at least 140 degrees and let it simmer there for about 20 minutes or so. It developed a foam on top as it cooked. The pot you see above got a bit out of hand. 

By the way, I don't know if you know this or not, but honey is sticky. And messy. And gooey. And currently covering every surface of my kitchen.

While I let the honey cook, I got prepped to can it in a water bath.  This means boiling the jars to remove any containments there, boiling the lids so the wax melts to the jars, and boiling several gallons of water in my canner.  It was 80 degrees yesterday.  And I don't have proper A/C.  I was in the weeds!!!

But I prevailed and canned the honey.

  

I let it boil in the water bath for 10 minutes, per my iffy internet instructions. 

And....it seemingly worked.  I've eaten it twice, and so far, so good.  No botulism yet.


It's much darker than store-bought honey and quite a bit sweeter.

I'm now adding "make honey" to my bucket list, so I can go ahead, cross it off, and then retire a successful apiarist.