How to make honey comb

When I was young, my mom bought honey comb for my brothers and I to try.  I remember, as you bit into the comb, the pockets of honey would burst open and it would be oh, so sweet.

Honey comb

I wanted to see if I could bring that memory to life, using my own hives.  However, I didn’t want to over do it, but just to make a few frames of comb for the family to enjoy and to share with friends.

The method I used, was to take a plastic foundation and cut it into 5 strips.  I placed each of these strips at the top of an empty frame.  I didn’t need to pin the strip into place, it fit snuggly into the grove at the top.  In fact, I had to use a hammer to set it into place.

I placed each frame between 2 already drawn out frames, which helps to give the bees a pattern to f0llow. The bees drew out each frame, filled the cells with nectar and when they had made honey, they capped the cells. In this picture, you can see the small strip of plastic cell at the top of the frame.

IMG_7673

The bees filled this frame with a mix of very light honey and a darker honey.

Using a small sharp knife, I cut each frame into 4 combs that fit nicely into my containers.

IMG_7679

IMG_7680

I found this quite easy to do, however the bees don’t always build a nice straight comb, especially when there is a frame missing foundation.  I was lucky that they didn’t build crossways between the frames on either side of the honey comb frame.

I hope you find this inspirational and, perhaps during your next nectar flow, you will give this a try.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.

Lisa

 

 

 

Advertisements

Happy World Honey Bee Day!!

Today is World Honey Bee Day! In honor of this day, take the time to enjoy some honey. Place honey on your toast, over your ice cream or make a honey infused mojito (if it wasn’t so early I would go make one of these) . Perhaps, go to your farmers market and show your support of your local beekeeper by purchasing some of their products.

Enjoy your day and thank all your local beekeepers for making the world a little sweeter.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.

Lisa

Happy with hive 4

This last weekend I inspected Hive #4.  Hive #4 was created on June 5th, where I took 2 frames from hive 2….IMG_5407

and placed them in a Nuc box, with a frame of honey, a frame with pollen and a frame of drawn comb.

IMG_5409

I left this Nuc alone until June 19th, where during a quick inspection I found an open queen cell, no eggs, didn’t spot the queen, but the bees seemed calm. Calm, quiet bees are a sign of a queen right hive, therefore, I closed up the hive and decided I would check again at a later date.

It wasn’t until the end of July that I found  the queen, she was busy working on the frame below.

Hive 3 Frame of bees

In this next picture you can find her in the middle. She has a long black abdomen, short wings and a black thorax and what a beautiful queen she is.

Hive 3 Queen

Again, after seeing that the hive was calm and busy, I closed them back up to let them be.

During my recent inspection, I found many frames with a very nice laying pattern.

IMG_7782

I am very pleased with this hive. If they keep building like they have been, they will be ready for winter when it arrives.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.

Lisa

Creamed Honey

Making creamed honey is simple and, oh, so delicious.

Creamed honey is not made by whipping honey, but by controlling the crystallization of it. When honey naturally crystallizes, it produces crystals, which when rolled across the tongue, feel rough and gritty. Creamed honey is made using smaller crystals and these smaller crystals roll nicely across the tongue, giving a smooth creamy feeling.

The easiest way to make creamed honey is to purchase an already made creamed honey, to use as a seed.

Over the weekend, I went to our local farmer’s market to scope out the different creamed honeys produced by my local beekeepers.

IMG_7393

I ended up purchasing from 2 different beekeepers and brought it home for the family to do a taste test, to identify a winner. We thought the one on the left was smoother, but only after you got through a top layer that was not as smooth. The sugar grains, in the one on the right, were not as smooth, but were consistent from top to bottom. Remember that you are looking for smoothness and not taste,  once you mix the “seed” into your honey, it will be your honey flavor that shines.  Since we couldn’t make a decision on which one we liked best, we made 2 batches, 1 from each.

IMG_7400

For the 1st batch, I measured out 4.5 pounds of honey and mixed in half the creamed honey, from the jar purchased from the farmers market. As you mix, be careful not to mix in any air.

Once thoroughly mixed, I then poured the mixture into jars. 4.5 pounds of honey, plus 4oz of creamed honey resulted in 7 half pint jars.

IMG_7423

All jars were then placed into the refrigerator in order to set. After 2 weeks we removed them and gave one a try.  My husband remarked that it was the best creamed honey that he’s ever had.  (What a wonderful husband I have.)

Next time I would like to make a flavored cream honey.  I’m thinking of lemon infused creamed honey. I have fond memories of drinking tea with honey and lemon juice when I was young.  Or perhaps cinnamon creamed honey, I love putting cinnamon sugar on my toast. This might be a good way of further transitioning from sugar to honey in my diet.

I would love to hear what flavor of creamed honey is your favorite.  Please leave me a comment.

~ May all your wandering take you to many wonderful places.

Lisa