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Honey

The main reason people have kept bees for centuries are the rewards of the honey harvest.

Honey is a totally natural food made by bees from the nectar of plants. It not only tastes good but has many beneficial effects to health. It is produced by bees as a food source for the hive, the aim of beekeeping is to manage the behaviour of the hive to encourage manufacture of surplus honey in order for it to be harvested without any negative effects on the hive.

The taste of honey can vary depending on the type of plant nectar used to make the honey. In some cases honey can be labelled specifically to specialised types of honey, in Scotland this is regulated using the criteria listed in the Honey (Scotland) Regulations 2003.

The honey is contained within the hive on beeswax honeycombs, which can also be used to make things such as polishes, candles, soaps and cosmetic creams, take a look at our recipe page for more information. Honey can also be used to make honey drinks wine, beer and mead.

Honey is available in many forms, including strained (honey drained and filtered from honeycomb), creamed (whipped strained honey) and on the comb. It has a low water content which inhibits fermentation and this allows it to be stored for long periods of time without degradation.

The anti-micro bacterial properties of honey are well known and it is used as a topical antiseptic. It is also said to alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.

 

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Preparing

Cut Comb/Section Honey (Ian Craig’s method) Some beekeepers like to produce comb honey from the summer and ling (heather) flows. Spring honey is unsuitable for cut-comb or sections because oilseed rape will granulate in the comb and sycamore is too strong in flavour for most palates. In the past I have produced cut-comb in supers …

Harvesting

After a long hard summer looking after your bees, stopping them swarming and checking them every week, you may be fortunate enough to have a super or two of honey to extract. YUM, YUM! The warmer honey is, the more easily it runs so after you have taken the honey from the bees it is …

Decanting

Decanting Honey From The Settling Tank Once you have extracted and filtered your honey and left it overnight in a settling tank or more simply a bucket with a honey tap you need to decant it into jars. This is quite an easy job to do but when you get to the last few pounds …