(photo courtesy of BetterBee)
To extract honey from the comb-covered frame, one uses an extractor
(both extractor photos courtesy of Dadant)
However, we don't have any kind of extractor (these puppies aren't cheap), so my beloved Rube Goldberg of a partner set about creating something that would serve her purpose. One food mill, a new & unused paint bucket, a length of PVC pipe, and a paint strainer later, et voila!
A honey extractor! She would cut off the comb & put it in a regular kitchen strainer to drain the honey from the wax comb. This left honey with LOTS of small wax bits in it. That pre-strained honey then got poured into the 'extractor', where gravity did the work of total wax removal. This was all about the gravity and manual extraction...no heat touched this.
She also utilized my asparagus steamer pot and a paint strainer to do two batches at once.
She used canning jars because we didn't invest in 'real' honey jars this go-round.
You might notice the honey appears to be different colors. Honey made at different times of year changes in color; Spring & Summer honey is lighter in color (and to me, more delicate & sweeter) than the darker, thicker, more distinctively flavored Fall honey. There was a third, in-between batch that's my favorite. The final yield from one hive, taking less than half of the honey, was 28 lbs! We'll give quite a bit away for the holidays and imbibe honey liberally all Winter. Whatever is left come late Winter/early Spring will go back to feed the colonies during that time of year when the weather is warm enough for the bees to be active but before anything is in bloom yet.
Oh, and yes, there was beeswax:
It's in our largest stainless steel mixing bowl, but we haven't weighed it yet. During Christmas week we'll weigh it & then melt it down to get a sense of yield. We've never made candles so have no idea what the ratio of melted wax to pound of wax will be.
We're still sticking to the occasional cabinet knob, but every spoonful is worth it. Natural health proponents say that regular consumption of raw (as in never heated; this honey is raw) honey can help fend off cold and flu viruses, and, if local honey, can help prevent hay fever allergies. One doesn't get much more local than one's backyard, so I'm a willing participant in this experiment. This is one spoonful of medicine that goes down quite easily!
You better believe her April birthday gift will be an actual extractor!
We're off to see Anna Karenina on this gray, damp day...wishing you sweetness and peace!