First Honey of The Year

Our beekeeping experience in the past month or so has been a trying experience and I don’t want to talk about it (we still have some challenging days ahead). To maintain our sanity and derive some satisfaction from the all this bee business, we decided to pull a frame of honey yesterday from a monster hive that’s out of control.

The honey has a hint of maple and a distinct wild flower aroma compared to the more delicately balanced honey we harvested in the city last year. I’ve tasted some wild flower honeys that were almost pungent, not particularly pleasant or elegant. I’m glad that’s not the case here.

We hope to find a safe place in the city for a few hives next year. The huge diversity of flowering trees and plants in the city has got to produce to best tasting honey around. I’m almost sure of it. The honey we harvested yesterday isn’t bad at all. It’s good honey. But the honey we harvested last year in the city seems to have more subtle, complex flavours. It’s still early in the season, though. The bees may produce something altogether different by the time September rolls around.

Check out the First Honey of 2012 photo album to view the photos individually. (It might take a couple seconds for the slideshow to load. Refresh your browser if it’s played out by the time you’re reading this.)

iPad and non-Flash mobile devices can view slideshow photos here: First Honey of 2012.

The honey on the frame is only partially capped (or cured). Usually we’d wait until most of it is capped, but we weren’t in the mood to wait another week. (By the way, last year we didn’t get any honey until September 4th. It was a horrible year for everyone.) Here’s the video version. The best part is when we bite into it and feel the warm honey burst out from the soft comb. That’s a personal moment I cut from the video, but trust me, it’s the kind of moment that makes the hard days of beekeeping worth it.

JULY 07, 2012: I’ve changed my mind about the flavour of our new rural honey — from St. Philip’s. We had a good feed of it last night along with some comb honey we harvested in St. John’s last year for comparison, and both of the honeys were delicious. The St. Philip’s honey has a more wild earthy flavour compared to the delicate flavour of the St. John’s honey, but the earthiness isn’t so intense that it overwhelms the palette. There’s plenty of room to notice the maple sweetness and other subtleties. It’s different but just as good as last year’s honey.

PHOTOS NOTE (OCTOBER 2015): The photos in this post may not display properly because they were uploaded through Google’s Picasa online photo album service, a service I no longer use because certain updates create more work for me instead of streamlining the process. I will eventually replace the photos with ones hosted on the Mud Songs server. This note will disappear when (or if) that happens.

7 thoughts on “First Honey of The Year

  1. The comb is lovely. Just be aware that in harvesting frames that are less than 75 percent capped, your honey will have a much higher moisture content, and may not store as well. It could ferment, so eat fast!

  2. This year’s honey is different from last year’s honey. We’re not experts, but we can taste the difference between all our honeys now. The first honey from a single frame we harvested this year had an earthy flavour. Then pulled another frame a few weeks ago and the honey is lighter, the flavour mild. This past weekend we pulled a couple more frames and the honey is almost white. Turns out it’s fireweed honey — and it’s nothing like last year’s honey we got in the city. The city honey’s flavour was delicate but complex. Fireweed doesn’t grow much in the city, but it’s everywhere out in the country. The fireweed honey supposedly has a spicy highly prized flavour, but I can’t tell. It tastes like extremely mild honey to me. By the end of the month, we’ll be harvesting an entirely different type of honey, something with a combination of clover and golden rod I suspect. I’m not a big fan of pure golden rod honey, but mixed with other nectar sources, it shouldn’t be too bad.

  3. We’ve been harvesting 3 or 4 frames of honey every two or three weeks since July, and every batch of honey is different. The first batch of the year back in July had a deep earthy flavour. Then we had another batch that was light and very sweet. Then another batch that was nearly white (Fireweed honey, we suspect). Today we harvest some honey that’s darker than any honey we’ve seen so far. It’s not black dark, but it’s almost a bright red. We think it might be honey made from black huckleberry that looks like this and grows plentiful in Newfoundland:

    We’re not having a great beekeeping year, and our poor bees have been through so much, they’re not exactly on fire producing bucket loads of honey, but I sure do love them.

    We’re doing our best not to mix any of the honeys. We want to preserve the individual honeys of each hive, sometime each frame.

  4. Our first honey of 2013, harvested from our hidden city hive, is so light, it seems virtually flavourless. It’s delicious, but it’s subtle, not the punch of earthiness we got from the hives on the farm last year.

Comments are closed.