Well I’m sure I start each blog by saying how fast the month has gone and this month really is no different! I have to admit cutting this one very close to the line for my writing deadline but hopefully I can tell you lots about our honey extracting this month.
Usually in early June we would be extracting our spring crop however around then there was next to nothing on the hives, we had even had to feed them to keep starvation at bay but the weather finally broke at the end of May, start of June and about a month behind the normal flow we finally started to see supers filling with honey! It turned out that although it was late the bees were ready and waiting and as soon as the conditions were there they managed to start collecting at a fantastic pace. The spring crop that usually starts in April through to the end of May has been matched in just 2 or 3 weeks this year.
So although we were delayed the crop was good. We have finished extracting now and it was an exciting time as we had a few new bits of equipment.
We remove the cappings using one of the new bits of equipment we have got for this season. The Uncapper as its aptly named has two blades which slice off the wax and expose the honey.
Once the frames are free of cappings we place them into a honey extractor which spins the frames round very quickly so that the honey flys out and drains down the tank into a waiting bucket!
From the buckets we put it in the warmer to make the honey slightly runnier to put through a straining cloth to remove all of the bits of wax that we don’t want to end up in the jars! That’s all there is to our honey, you couldn’t get a purer more natural product!
Firstly the frames come in their boxes from the hives. We use a device called a clearing board which is like a one way valve for bees so that the boxes are empty of bees when they come to be extracted.
When the pallet comes in the frames are capped with wax so our first job before we can extract the honey is to remove the wax cappings that the bees have made to store the honey.
The uncapper above is using blades to expose the honey below it. You can see the yellow honey at the bottom and the thin layer of wax being removed.
This Month’s Recip-bee
With the launch of the new Bee Chocolatey honey, I thought, hmm there are so many things that this would work with, so this recip-bee of the month was so hard to choose!! But my favourite meal of the day is breakfast and what meal isn’t perfect with banana and cocoa honey spread! Pancakes always remind me of the song in Matilda, I very much enjoyed playing this while I made them, but this is optional when you make these!! The toppings can be amended to whatever you want, I think this cocoa honey would work perfectly with Greek yoghurt or strawberries too! As always, send us pictures and comments on how you get on!
Bee Chocolatey – Honey and Cocoa Spread
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm/½in thick.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
As always thank you for reading, hopefully you’ve learnt a little something about extracting honey and if you want to learn more make sure you follow our social media pages as we often post up other little facts and photos as the month goes on!
Holt Hall Apiary