Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Honey extraction process explained in detail

I got asked prety often recently how pure and raw our honey is hence I decided to explain in detail how our honey is processed from the hive into the jar:

1. Nectar has been collected by the bees and the water content has been evaporated by fanning with their wings to approx 10-15%. This low water content makes the honey resistant to fermentation through wild yeast and extremely long lasting. 3000y old honey has been found in the pyramids which was still perfectly edible. Ten bees spend their life time to collect approximately one teaspoon.

2. Only when the water content has been lowered to that level the bees will cap the comb and only then the beekeeper will remove the comb from the hive. This cap will then cut off with a knife or scraped of with a special fork and the entire frame goes into an extractor which will spin the frames until all honey has run out and the almost pure beeswax comb remains. From this extractor the honey will flow through a double strainer to filter out almost all remaining wax pieces into a settling bucket.

3. The honey will remain in this bucket for a couple of days until the very last wax pieces float on the top and pollen, which is also stored by bees in combs, and propolis will sink to the bottom. From there it is going directly into sterilised jars and lidded immediately.

4. Pure, raw and non heat treated honey is as clear as liquid gold when freshly bottled but it is a natural process that it will crystallise (5) after a certain time. This process might be accelerated by colder temperatures or through particles/crystals you might introduce with your spoon when eating it. (deliberately introduced into creamed honey)

If you prefer runny honey then don't feel put off. It is a proof of its purity. You can easily reverse this process by gently heating up the honey to about body temperature (Do that in a water bath or by putting it on the radiator. It melts anyway on your toast). Commercial honey will be heated up during the extraction process to more than sixty degrees which of course also destroys a lot of the good bits.