Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Honey

There have been so many things I have learned since moving to the big island almost 18 years ago. Random Things. Like the difference between a heifer, cow, steer, and bull (reproduction is the key). And when lehua trees bloom, how protea grows, what mountain oysters taste like (yummy goodness, that's what). I also have seen the cycle of life. Creatures being born, namely, calves, kids (as in goats), foals, puppies and kitties (but I did see a lot of those last two on O'ahu). I have been to 4H auctions, watched a horse being inseminated, witnessed a uterus being massaged with sugar and stuffed back into the cow.  I have played in snow, and gone to the beach. Almost on the same day.
Today is another day. Today Kaipo and I extracted lehua honey. From honeycombs. At a neighbor's house. Yes, it's true. And lehua is in full bloom right now and my neighbor can tell that it is honey made from bees who are feasting on lehua nectar. How cool is that?
My friend, Kepola, has been a beekeeper for the last few years and she invited me over today to help her extract honey. WOW! That's all I got to say.
Here's a honeycomb. It's a wooden structure and beneath all that white (white caps made with beeswax) lies yummy delicious honey. All bee made. Incredible. She had SEVERAL. And they were heavy. Heavy with delicious lehua honey.


There's a special knife you use to cut off the caps of each cell. It's a skill. When I tried, it was obvious that I was cutting a bit too deep. Wasting honey. The point is to uncap the combs so that you can extract the honey. Just kinda like shave off the caps. 


Sorta like this.


Ta-da!


This one is completely uncapped (both sides. By yours truly). See all the beeswax on the side? I'm gonna melt it all down to extract the honey stuck to it and then figure out what to do with the wax.


Good view of the very long and very sharp serrated like uncapping knife.


Then you place two uncapped combs into an extractor like this one. Hand cranked. Not fun. Invest in an electric one if you can. This one had issues. We are hoping Mr. Honda can fix the issues for the next extraction in July.


This really doesn't depict the incredible speed with which I am spinning this crank. It is NOT fun. And the extractor is trying to move all over the place. My foot is on its foot trying to hold it in place. Did I say it was hard?


Inspecting the combs following the spinning, making sure that most of the honey has been spun out of it (it's all about centrifugal force). If I spun it, it probably has to go in again for additional spinning. I tell you, it's a skill!




All those caps. Mixed with honey. I had to scoop some up and try it. It's kind of like chewing gum. When you first get it in your mouth and give the first few chews all the flavor seeps out. And then you're left with flavorless chew. But with this you're left with wax. And a wonderful honey goodness in your tummy.


The honey exists through a spout on the bottom of the extractor that has a very high tech device to catch any residue. It is called "women's pantyhose". 
Thanks, Kepola. It was GREAT GREAT FUN! And we want to do it again. I'll even crank that damn extractor again.


Oh, and we found a turkey egg in the driveway. Yay. Breakfast tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Oooh. I really want to try this (both the honey and the process!). Mahalo nui for sharing this experience : )

    ReplyDelete