I remember visiting a friend’s home when they were bottling honey from their beehives, the different colours of each jar was inspiring to me.
A few years later and it is my turn to harvest some honey. I have only taken a little bit of honey from my hives in the past but this year was more than I was used to.
There are two hives at my workshop, one National and one Warre beehive. After checking how much honey was there in September, it was decided to take 2 supers from the National beehive and 1 box from the Warre beehive.
When the boxes made it home, it was decided to start on the National supers first. From following the instructions carefully from various websites, we worked on one frame at a time cutting the honey comb out into a container and slicing it up into many pieces to help release the honey. We then mashed the comb with a potato masher or a pestle. Once the container was full of mashed up comb, we inserted muslin into the fruit press followed shortly after by our mashed up honey comb. We continued this until the fruit press was full.
Before we even started pressing, honey began to flow through the muslin and was on its way.
We began to use the press and with the honey aided by gravity, it flowed through our 2 sieves before falling into a container. We used sieves to catch any large bits that were not honey, this could have been wax, parts of bees or anything else, this process was repeated until both supers and Warre box were complete.
To my surprise, we harvested 10kg from super 1, 10kg from super 2 and 10.5kg from the Warre box. What a fantastic surprise to have 30.5kg of pure honey from the most wonderful Honey bees living in Cwmbran, South Wales.
Now that we had a considerable amount of nature’s sweetener, it was decided to keep some and bottle some. 2 different types of jars were purchased and so began the bottling process, this was a most enjoyable experience on my senses. The sights, smells and of course the tastes were fantastic, even awe inspiring and many other words that I would only find in a thesaurus, or that I make up like fan-dabbie-dosey.
It was time to think about labels for these jars, it was quickly decided that we would design them ourselves and not pay for the quite frankly boring designs that are widely available or for the fees of a designer. So after way too many hours learning about a certain design software, a design was chosen. This however was not the end of the design story, as the printers who were to print them, needed slight modifications to the design for it to work.
After many, many hours of work, from spending time with the Honey bees, research, cutting honey comb, using a press, bottling honey, tasting honey, designing labels and sending multiple emails to the printers. This is something of which I thoroughly enjoyed, learnt so much, tasted so much, had so many headaches but would not change any of it.