Honey if you love me…

…will you please, please smile?? 🙂

There has been a lot of smiling over this fall’s honey production! Eagle Bluff friends, naturalists, and board members worked with director Joe Deden to process nearly 170 quarts of honey from bees kept at Eagle Bluff. Joe explains that the honey crop was more successful this year than last year, perhaps because of the drought. “Bees like sunshine more than rain.”

Once again with the help of naturalist Laura N., we have gathered some fun pictures to share with you about all of our busy worker bees!

Here's a great "before" photo of our bees in action. The bees use layers of "deep" frames to build brood cells as well as create honey. The top, edge layer is honey while the inside layer are completed brood cells.

Here’s a great “before” photo of our bees in action. The bees use layers of “deep” frames to build brood cells as well as create honey. The upper outside and lighter layer is honey while the inside, light brown layer is completed brood cells. The dark brown central cells are still open and waiting for more brood cells (eggs).

The first step in the extraction process is to cut off the caps from the cells in each frame so that honey can escape. Friend of Eagle Bluff, Vern uses a bristled tool to remove the caps.

The first step in the extraction process is to cut off the caps from the cells in each frame so that honey can escape. Friend of Eagle Bluff, Vern, uses a bristled tool to remove the caps. You can see the different deep frames in the photo as well!

In the second step, Ben spins the frames in a hand crank-powered centrifuge. Don’t spin it too fast or the honey will fly out!

In the second step, naturalist Ben spins the frames in a hand crank-powered centrifuge. Don’t spin it too fast or the honey will fly out!

Step three is filtration. Friend of Eagle Bluff, Sam Italiano looks on as board member, Barb Mielke pours raw honey through the filter.

Step three is filtration. Friend of Eagle Bluff, Sam Italiano, looks on as board member, Barb Mielke, pours raw honey through the filter.

Step 4- Boiled

Small bits of comb are left behind as the honey seeps through two layers of cheese cloth and a metal filter. The honey is then heated in a boiler and ready to be canned.

While changing the filter, Laura’s hands got covered in honey. At the end of the extraction process, all who helped got to take home a jar of honey. The rest of the honey will be used in the kitchen at Eagle Bluff.

While changing the filter, naturalist Laura’s hands got covered in honey. At the end of the extraction process, all who helped got to take home a jar of honey. The rest of the honey will be used in the kitchen at Eagle Bluff.

The honey extraction process is quite a fascinating one! Hopefully you learned something new and are perhaps inspired to go out and buy the REAL stuff! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below. We’re always game for more learning!

Expect another new blog post next week…Stay tuned! 

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3 thoughts on “Honey if you love me…

  1. Congrats on a great honey harvest. I wonder why you heat the honey before sealing? I thought raw honey would last just about forever. It has its own antibiotic qualities.

    • Sorry for the delayed response. (We had to check in with the honey expert, Director Joe, who was off site last week!) Here’s your answer. We heat the honey to 150 degrees, which is less than it’s boiling point and not enough to pasteurize it, because without the extra heat the honey would begin to crystallize. According to Joe, crystallized honey has a consistency more like spreadable jam. It’s usable and tastes similar, but it won’t pour out of the jars.
      Hope that cleared things up!

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