I 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 I 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.
The huge diversity of flowering trees and plants in the city has got to produce some of the best tasting honey around. I’m almost sure of it. The honey I harvested yesterday isn’t bad at all. It’s good honey. But the honey I 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.
The honey on the frame is only partially capped (or cured). Usually I’d wait until most of it is capped, but I wasn’t in the mood to wait another week. 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 7th, 2012: I’ve changed my mind about the flavour of my new rural honey — from St. Philip’s. I had a good feed of it last night along with some comb honey I 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.
Mouth watering video. Love the golden shots at the beginning. Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait till I get my first honey of 2012!
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!
Yeah, this comb wasn’t ready to be harvested, but we didn’t care. Most of it will be gone by this weekend.
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.
The fire weed honey we’re getting this year does taste kind of spicy. Weird. But highly prized!
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.
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.