Thursday, January 20, 2011

Filling myself with sweetness

We usually extract honey in September or October when the weather is still slightly warm. Last fall, we ran out of time and so we extracted honey last weekend; and it was a very different experience.

Some of the honey in the combs had crystalized and so running the capping knife across the surface of the frame was a much harder job. The house was cooler even with the wood stove running as hard as it could, and the honey flowed more slowly out of the cut combs and into the extractor, out of the extractor and into the strainer, and out of the strainer and into jars. And cleanup that we usually do on the back deck with a garden hose hooked up to the hot water faucet was a little messier. We still used the garden hose hooked up to the hot water, but we did it in the kitchen. It’s amazing how far a little water can travel when you least expect it.

The main advantage to extracting honey in mid January is the absence of live bees. I didn’t mis the sound of their buzzing or brushing them off the frames or vacuuming them off the ceiling.

Other than the bees though, extracting honey in January is still a celebration of the senses. Our hands and feet feel sticky for days. The light shining through drips of golden honey is always beautiful. The smell, as air sweeps up out of the extractor as the combs spin is the best fragrance in the world. And the taste...well the taste is an invitation to gluttony.

The taste is a lot like honey from the store, only much better. Extracting honey gives many, many opportunities for tasting. I grab one of the first pieces of capping as the hot knife slices the lids off the honey comb and pop it into my mouth, chewing the wax and honey mixture until all the flavor is gone. Then as the extractor spins and we watch honey droplets stream from the comb, I carefully slip a finger down the wall of the extractor and scoop up some honey to taste. When the extractor is full, we lift it up onto the counter, open the valve and watch beautiful golden liquid flow down to the strainer. I can’t resist sticking a finger into that flow to watch the changing patterns of honey on the surface of the strainer and, of course, to catch another taste. And finally, at the end of a long day of tasting. I use a spoon to scrape the last of the honey from the bottom of the strainer and put it in my mouth, savoring the pure rush of flavor.

I usually try to restrict my diet and eat appropriate amounts of appropriate foods, but the days we extract honey, whether in October or January are the days I let loose and fill my self with sweetness.

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Joanie and Dave! That honey looks like it just needs a little warm bread to go with it Tony and Jan