Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall Honey Harvest 2013

This weekend, we had our last honey harvest of the season. We pulled 18 frames from two honey supers out of two hives. Since we had already harvested in July, this harvest was going to be smaller.
The fall harvest usually yields a darker colored honey. This one did not disappoint. The color looks like dark molasses. Really deep chocolate brown.
Here's a closer look of the frame. Isn't the color just gorgeous?
We have to take a knife and cut away the wax caps, and then they are ready to go into the extractor.
Two frames go into the extractor at once, and then each side is spun until all the honey flows out of the frames.
I particularly loved the duo-tone honey color in this frame. On the left you see light color honey, and on the right is a dark colored honey. Isn't that amazing?? You can actually see the difference in the type of flowers they are feeding from because of the color change. The type of flowers they have access to changes throughout the season as different flowers come into season.
Here we are pouring the the extracted honey out of the extractor and into a sieve to strain out all the waxy floating bits. Love, love, love the color!
I just love how different our Brooklyn honey looks and taste from each hive. To the left is our Spring harvested honey. In the middle, is our Fall honey from one hive and to the right is our Fall honey from another hive. The difference in colors is extraordinary!
And here it is bottled up and ready to be given away to friends / family and or sold. Love it! #honey!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Making Beeswax Candles

All year, I've been collecting wild beeswax from the hive. Especially when they build comb like this. Bees build wild wax like this when there is too much space between frames or open space inside the hive.
Here is an example of when bees build wild comb. This is the underside of the water sugar feeder. The bees built some wax below it.
And some wax above the frames. The water sugar feeder sits on top of the top box, and the bees built a bunch of wax to try to close up the gaps.
When we extracted honey from the frames, there is lots of wax left behind. I collected all this wax too.
Why am I collecting all this beeswax??? To make candles!!
I melted all the wax on a double boiler.
And poured them into molds to make votive candles! This was my first time making votive candles. And it's super fun! I added some vanilla scent.
Here are the candles out of the mold! The white color candles are pure beeswax from the honey extraction. The darker candles is the wax that I collected throughout the year and sometimes there are impurities in the wax, especially propolis, thus the darker color wax.
I poured some wax in metal tins as well. I love how this came out.
And here it is lit. I thought I collected a lot of wax, but it only made 7 little candles. Hahahahhaha. Guess I have to collect more wax!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Queen is Born!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how we lost our Queen in our white hive. We moved a frame of 3 day old brood from our other hive to the queenless hive in hopes of rearing a new queen. We came back 2 weeks later to find some new brood! We have successfully reared a new Queen!! The hive is aware that it is queenless so it will turn a regular brood into a queen by feeding it exclusively royal jelly. The new Queen upon being born takes a mating flight and then begins to lay eggs. We were so excited to see frames of new brood! This was our first attempt of raising a Queen and now that we know we can do it, we won't have to buy replacement queens again as long as we have one healthy queen in the other hive!
We actually had 2 things to celebrate! Not only did we find some great brood pattern, we also saw that the top honey box was almost full of Fall honey. Ooooh, this means we can harvest within the next few weeks! I am so excited that we get a second harvest out of this hive this season!
Check out the color of this honey. A deep rich chocolate brown color. So much darker than our spring honey. I can't wait to taste it! YUM!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Making homemade hot sauce! Caliente!

At the farmer's market, they had these beautiful serranos, so I bought a pound and decided to make hot sauce for the first time ever! I've always wanted to make hot sauce, so this is going to be fun!
In a saucepan, I put the following.
  • 1/2 pound of serrano peppers, without seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of our own harvested Brooklyn honey
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic (although, it could have used more)
  • half bunch of cilantro
  • 1 1/2 limes juiced
  • salt to taste
I used serranos in this recipe, but I bet you can use just about any hot pepper. Just remember, some peppers are hotter than others, so do your research first on how hot you like it. I roughly chopped everything and sauteed the peppers, salt and garlic in the olive oil until soft, then added the water, honey, lime juice and cilantro. Cook until the cilantro wilted then took off the flame. Poured into a blender then added the white vinegar. Puree until blended. Taste, add more salt if needed.
The hot sauce came out a gorgeous green color and was delicious! The honey flavor really shines through and this hot sauce is sooooo GOOD. It's slightly sweet and very spicy. I am going to try this on everything!

I really loved how easy it was to make hot sauce! I don't know why I was always scared of it. Do you make your own hot sauce? What do you put in yours? 
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