We are not very attentive beekeepers anymore. When we were first trained, we went out on a weekly basis, logged notes on their progress, did mite counts to make sure they were not badly infested, and just gave them lots of love. As each year rolls on, we find the novelty of the bees is less and less able to entice us away from our other projects and it is getting to be so that they are mostly on their own.
Still, we did take the time to extract honey and got a good haul. We were going away for a week so we set the five gallon bucket to the side to rest for the moment. The moment stretched into two months and the weather turned colder. When we finally got out the bucket all the honey had crystallized into a sugary quicksand. Boo, Hiss!
We tried setting the bucket out in the sun and storing it in an overheated room but nothing budged those crystals to reliquify. Finally, I lugged the bucket back into the house and accidentally broke off a piece that was holding the spigot tight so it began to leak. Believe me, you don’t want even crystallized honey dripping. It gets everywhere.
In desperation, I decided to try something different. I ladled about a gallon of honey sludge into a pot and put it into the oven on the lowest setting, then went about my business and checked back in a couple hours. Voila! We were back to beautiful golden liquid honey. All I had to do was let it cool for a while and find a temporary holding tank while I repeated the process three more times with the biggest pots I could find.
By the time we were done, I got it all back into the bucket with the broken spigot rubber-banded into place and my husband and I got going on the bottling process. Now, there are 44 beautiful one-pound bottles of clear golden honey and a couple mason jars of the stuff at the bottom that had some floating wax we couldn’t separate. We’ll sell and give away most of it but even on a low-carb diet it is hard to resist a breakfast of Cheerios with our own honey drizzled on top. Thank you, bees!