Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hi Honey! Honey Processing 2011 -- extracting

Bright and early Monday morning (July 4th), we quickly loaded up the supers into our truck and headed up to our church to do the honey extraction.

At the church, we met up with our other beekeeping friend, who was able to borrow the extraction equipment from another bee keeping friend.

We loaded all the equipment into the tiny scary elevator and headed to the basement of the church. We are so lucky this year that we were able to borrow the commerical kitchen of the church for the day so we could extract our honey. Due to food safety laws, if you plan to sell honey, you must extract it in a commercial kitchen to be in compliance with food safety laws. Yes, there are ways around this, and many people cannot afford a commercial kitchen setup. We were very lucky that we were able to use these really nice facilities.

I immediately got to work washing up equipment in the wonderful commercial dish wash station (I want one of those faucets at my house, it was AWESOME!).

Meanwhile, the guys assembled the rest of the equipment and set it up assembly line style so we could move quickly through our tasks.

By 9 am we were up and running. The process was much the same as last year, except we were not packed into my tiny kitchen, nor were we battling bees as we came in and out of the house. Step one: use the hot knife to cut the wax caps off of the frames.

Step 2: use a pokey tool to open any cells that were missed by the knife (yes, Dr. Aaron came back, and his wife brought snacks!)

The frame are then loaded into the centrifuge and the honey is spun out.

The honey is then poured into buckets.

One other fun thing about using the church kitchen is that we were able to invite anyone who was interested to come watch (and help). All told, we had 15 people there for a while.

The kids played with puzzles and made forts under the tables and were captivated watching our tiny portable DVD player.

This step of the honey extraction process ended with empty supers carried back up the stairs and many very heavy buckets. We finished up about 4 pm and were all exhausted and sticky after a hard days work.

The next step (the next day!) meant that hubby carried those same buckets BACK down the stairs and filled all our honey jars.

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