May 21, 2011

Who Stole the Honey?? ... & enjoyed blue cheese with honey drizzle

We robbed our bees last weekend!!  Well, actually, Mark robbed our bees last weekend ... I was purely a spectator for this round as I'm still recovering from my surgery a few weeks ago.  But I was an excellent spectator!  I should be able to resume my trusty Assistant Beekeeper role by the next robbing in July.

We have two hives - an established one, and one we just bought this spring.  This season we'll only be able to rob the established hive - the new one is still getting settled in, and there won't be enough honey yet for them to share with us.  But that's okay - we'll still get plenty of honey to hold us over from just the single hive!  We get about 6-8 quarts of honey from a single robbing, and we're able to rob the established hive twice in a summer ... May and July ... provided conditions stay good.  I don't really know what all these "conditions" are, but Mark does ... that's why he's the Head Beekeeper, and I'm just the trusty Assistant.  See, I'm new to beekeeping, but Mark's been doing it since he was in his early teens.  He and his father used to have ten hives ... ten ... that's a lot of honey!!  But then the bees all got sick and died off ... which is really sad ... and now we're just getting back into it.

But I bet you'd rather see some pictures of the robbing process, than hear about Mark's beekeeping history, wouldn't you?  Okay, so here we go!  Pictures of the process, with my absolute favorite way to enjoy honey at the end!

First up - Mark opening up the hive.  Doesn't he look all cute in his special suit?  Our bees are really gentle, so sometimes he doesn't wear the full suit ... just the hat and veil with a thick sweatshirt.  He makes me nervous when he does that ... I'd rather he wear the full suit.  Just in case.

Opening the hive
 After the hive is opened, he pulls out the frames.  The honeycomb in the frames has to be capped ... that white stuff you see sealing the cells ... or it's not ready to be robbed.  If you harvest the honey before the bees have capped it, the honey will spoil.  Mark gets very bummed when he thinks it's time to rob, but finds uncapped cells when he pulls out the frames.  When that happens, he has to just put the frames back in and we wait a couple of weeks to check again!

Capped and ready to be robbed!

Side view
 Next, we carry the full frames (they're heavy!) into the basement and start cutting those caps off to release the honey.  They make special electric heated knives to use to cut the caps, but Mark's mom has figured out that a nice sharp serrated knife works even better for her.  Sometimes the electric knife would get too hot and burn the wax caps and honey!  Plus, it's a pain in the pa-tooty to clean the electric knife.  Ya know, sometimes low-tech is juuussst fine.

Mark's mom cutting off the caps
There's a lot of honey still in the cuttings, so we collect them in a big bowl to be drained later.  We'll get about a full quart of honey from these cuttings.  That's a lot! 
Wax caps after they're cut off
 Next, the frames are put in the extractor and Mark cranks the handle to extract the honey.  Just imagine honey flying all over the place inside the cylinder as Mark cranks ... splat!

Splat! ... goes the honey
 Then it's time to pour the honey off into jars.  We're almost done!!  Well ...

Pouring off the honey

Our harvest

... except for the clean-up.  But we let the bees help with that!

Bees cleaning up the inside of the extractor
And now for the best part - eating the honey!  My absolute favorite way to enjoy honey is very simple ... blue cheese with a drizzle of honey on a baguette slice.  There's just something about the combination of the sweet honey with the tangy-ness of the blue cheese.  Absolute yum.

Blue cheese with honey drizzle
Here's to hoping the bees are working hard so we can rob them again in July!!  Get busy, little bees!


Blue Cheese with Honey Drizzle
Ingredients
Wedge of blue cheese
Honey
Baguette slices and/or water crackers

Directions
Place the blue cheese wedge on a serving plate.  Drizzle the top generously with honey, letting the honey spill over all of the edges.  Serve with baguette slices and/or water crackers, and more honey on the side for additional drizzling.


This post is linked with Sharing Sundays hosted by Everyday Sisters and This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking.

4 comments:

  1. wow Tracey thanks for sharing the pictures of the process! Don and I find it very interesting
    Debi Jean

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a super easy and delicious appetizer idea. I love the sweet/savory combination especially with a cheese platter. YUM! Also those pictures were really amazing.

    My sisters and I just started our first themed blog hop over at http://everydaysisters.blogspot.com beginning tomorrow. This weeks theme is appetizers. We would love for you to come over and share these or any of your favorite appetizer recipes with our blog readers. Have a great weekend.

    Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love Blue Cheese, never thought to drizzle honey over it. It must be delicious. What an interesting process honey is. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for posting this recipe on Everyday Sisters Sharing Sundays - Appetizers!! This weeks theme is CHICKEN. Please come back and post some of your favorite chicken recipes to share with our followers. We hope to see you there!

    http://everydaysisters.blogspot.com/2011/07/everyday-sisters-sharing-sundays-2.html

    Ellen

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

Share Buttons

Get widget