My husband and I keep bees. Okay, okay. My husband keeps bees and I help (sometimes).
All kidding aside, my husband does 100% of all beekeeping duties all throughout the year. But when it comes to the honey harvest, it’s all hands on deck. Seriously, the honey harvest is brutal. It’s 100,000 bees swarming around your head while you pray you don’t get stung. It’s being on your feet for 13 hours straight (with all the bees flying around you.) It’s a lot of bending over. It’s a lot of tedious tasks. And omg… it’s so worth it.
Back to the part that most of you read and probably wondered “why on Earth would anyone do this?”… the bees swarming around. Yes, that’s happened. Our first year was terrible. It was like something out of a horror movie for most of you. First off, we didn’t know what we were doing. Beekeeping is like anything else. There’s only so much you can learn from a book. To really understand, you must get your hands dirty. Well, let’s just say the first honey harvest we got our hands filthy. We learned more from that experience than we ever had. The next year we were much more prepared and the harvest was much bigger. And the next was even better.
And then… this year happened. We knew we were golden. We have a fool-proof system. Until we woke up the day of the harvest and found hundreds of thousands of bees had already found the honey my husband pulled the night before.
Oh, that’s NOT how we thought we were going to start the day.
We ended up putting all the equipment and honey on a trailer and taking it to Chase’s parents in hopes that the bees wouldn’t follow. They are fast, but not that fast. Honey is heavy, y’all! SUPER HEAVY. So, to say we loaded up honey, it like saying we load up hundreds of bags of cement. Not not mention the extractor which weighs around 200 pounds. Fun times, fun times.
We finally got everything set-up and we rocked and rolled with the honey harvest. It’s really a neat process. So, I took some photos to share with y’all. Along with that, I wanted to share some fun honey facts.
Raw Honey never goes bad. It never, ever expires. In fact, they have found honey in Egyptian tombs that was still good.
While it is true that honey never goes bad, it will crystallize. This is a very natural process in which the sugar turns to crystals. According to blog.beeraw.com:
“The crystallization process is natural and spontaneous. Pure, raw and unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time with no effect on the honey other than color and texture.
What’s more, the crystallization of honey actually preserves the flavor and quality characteristics of your honey. Many honey users prefer it in this state as it is easier to spread on bread or toast. Indeed, some raw honey recipes can be easier to make with partially or fully-crystallized honey —and, the taste is richer.”
What do I do when the the honey crystallized? If you buy any jar of our honey, you will see a sticker on the back explaining how to do it. Simply heat some water, remove it from the heat just before it starts to simmer, safely place your jar in the water, and let it sit there until it’s a liquid again.
DO NOT microwave raw honey. It kills all the “good stuff.” Lincoln Land Beekeepers said it best,
“The microwave will essentially destroy all of the beneficial enzymes and properties of the honey. Sure it will return it to a liquid state, but then you can just consider it not much more than a honey colored sweetener.”