Today we had the pleasure of experiencing our first honey harvest. Our bees have been busy visiting fields of clover and Queen Anne’s Lace over the past several weeks. After watching hours of video focused on harvesting honey and rendering beeswax, we finally took a leap of faith and carefully extracted the liquid gold produced by our very own bees.
Here’s a step by step look at the process:
We carefully swept the bees off of the short, capped honey frames to prepare for extraction.
We set up the extractor and a screened sieve to remove the honey and filter out the wax and other unwanted items. A clean and organized area is imperative. We had buckets of soapy water with sanitizer and tarped surfaces in the extraction area.
After the extractor does its work (we have a hand crank version), the gate can be opened to pour unfiltered honey into a clean, food-safe bucket. The sieve and filter will take out the impurities.
We cleaned and sanitized our honey containers prior to setting up our bottling station.
The filtered honey is ready for bottling. We used 12 and 16 ounce jars. We wanted to try a mixture of plastic and glass jars.
We were able to bottle 12- 12 ounce, 12- 16 ounce, and 2- 4 ounce jars. What a delight to get so much honey from just 8 short frames.
I order a few different labels from Amazon to finish off the process. I think I’ll order a set of more personally printed labels for next year.
Now, it’s time to render the filtered wax to make our own beeswax blocks for future projects.
If you like peanut butter, you will love this no-bake treat. I’ve made several variations of this recipe over the years but this one is so simple and produces about 36 rounds of goodness. After parking these in the fridge for about 30 minutes, I pack them in a Tupperware container so I can tuck them into lunch boxes all week long.
No-Bake Oat and Honey Snack Bites
2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Combine peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup; mix thoroughly. Sprinkle in the oats and chocolate chips. Use a small ice cream scoop to shape dough into individual 1″ balls. Place on a cookie sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Pack into air-tight container. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Our town has a weekly farmer’s market every Saturday. It runs from late May through the month of October. Local farmers sell produce, baked goods, jams/jellies, cheese, flowers and crafts. There are vendors making donuts, sandwiches, hotdogs and even a vendor with a converted pizza truck who takes orders to make specialty pizzas on the spot. Folks visit the market then sit in the nearby park eating lunch while listening to local high school students play music in the sunshine. It’s a picturesque scene with all the coziness of a small town.
I love to head over to the market in the fall when produce is plentiful. One of my favorite booths at the market is the honey booth. I always buy a huge container of honey so that I support our local farmers while benefitting from the delicious taste of sweet golden honey.
This recipe is adapted from the Tried and True Favorites Cookbook…my “goto” for foolproof recipes. This bread is indeed foolproof as it always bakes up beautifully. The whole wheat and honey make this loaf hearty, moist and slightly sweet. I use the bread machine to make things as easy as can be.
Whole Wheat and Honey Loaf
1 1/8 cups water
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Place all ingredients in the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select “whole wheat” or “medium” setting; press start.
Several years ago, on one of my weekly visits to Goodwill, I found a brand new Williams-Sonoma Bread Machine on one of the shelves. I was delighted because I had given my old (smaller) bread machine to my brother-in-law when my kids were little.
The William Sonoma machine makes a really large loaf , has some attractive settings, and is a quality machine. I make my share of breads and scones by hand, but there is nothing like throwing all of the ingredients into the pan before going to bed and waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread.
This recipe is one of our favorites. You can use white bread flour or wheat flour…I was low on wheat flour this week so I mixed white and wheat. My kids load it up with crunchy peanut butter and homemade jam. This makes a hefty loaf that is sure to please.
Honey and Oats Bread
1 cup water, mild temp.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
Place ingredients in the bread pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the basic or light crust setting, press start.