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Author Topic: Do you have a preference on how you harvest honey?  (Read 4042 times)
Gail Di Matteo
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« on: January 14, 2008, 05:30:51 PM »

What are some of the differences, honey-wise, between doing crush and strain vs. extracting? I remember a blip about extracting adding air to the honey: Does this thin out the honey? Since my only experience is doing crush and strain, I can't compare. Is there a noticeable difference? I've been told that my honey is great: nice and thick unlike other farm stand honey. (This coming from one of my brothers;  high praise indeed!)

Could I have your opinion please?
Thanks,
Gail
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2008, 06:57:46 PM »

With me, I put the frames in the extractor. Spin it into a bucket that has a double layered sieve.

Place in bottle and sell to customer.

Sincerely,
Brendhan

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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2008, 09:14:36 PM »

Gail, I'm very biased toward crush and strain, but I too get incredible compliments about my honey being thicker and tastier than any anyone has ever tasted.

My bias includes:

1.  The honey doesn't have added air in it
2.  The clean up is much simpler than cleaning an extractor and all that goes with it (I extracted once in a course I took where we also did all the clean-up - tons more than with crush and strain)
3.  My bees make new wax each year, so when I have a particularly good frame I can do cut comb or chunk comb honey because the wax is always soft, white and lovely
4.  It's fast to cut and crush the honey and then I leave it in a warm place to do the rest of the work on its own in the straining basket...much faster to cut the honey off of the comb than to use an extracting knife (something else to clean)

Of course, you'll hear from many who prefer extraction.  Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you'll get 10 different (all good and valid) answers!

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 10:40:50 PM »

Gail, your local beekeepers association (Mountain Empire Beekeepers Ass.) meets January 24 in Finncastle Hall, at Wythville Comm. College.  Several of the members crush and strain, but most extract.  Stop in and talk with them.  They are only about fifteen miles from you. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2008, 11:33:48 PM »

OK Linda.  Now I have to go back into your website and see how you did that crush and strain.  I have only used an extractor and this year didn't have enough honey to use the extractor, so I am doing the crush and strain, and it is a royal pain in the a....  I am not kidding.  It took me about 2 hours to do 10 frames of honey, I must be doing something wrong, hee, hee.  Well, I didn't have anything else to do anyways on this rainy, rainy, windy, and I mean horrible windy day.  Didn't dare go outside, those evils that live on the trees that fly when the wind blows.  Could be a dangerous day in the outback, hee, hee.  have a wonderful, beautiful day.  Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2008, 11:55:02 PM »

It never takes me that long, Cindi, but I work in compact space and get everything set up ahead of time....I can't imagine doing it at this time of year because with it cold it must take the honey forever to go through the strainer?Huh?

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2008, 01:42:15 AM »

I just love the crush and strain that I have done on a few frames here and there. So much easier than getting out the extractor and having to clean it afterwards. Also much easier cleanup. I am leaning more towards just doing the crush and strain, but haven't decided yet.

Annette
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2008, 06:02:35 AM »

i think its a quantity thing. at some point crush and strain is going to require too many seperate setups since it has to sit around and drain through the screen.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2008, 06:39:45 AM »

i think its a quantity thing. at some point crush and strain is going to require too many seperate setups since it has to sit around and drain through the screen.
my sentiments exactly. for a few frames crush and strain is ok, butt as the numbers start to increase it will not be practical
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 07:10:42 AM »

I think the crush and strain tastes slightly better.  I think the main reason is probably not getting any scorched honey from the uncapping knife.
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2008, 08:50:25 AM »

Linda, the room that I have the honey in is very warm.  I still want to revisit your video, you have done some nice work on that website  cool Wink Smiley  I have a heater that I turn on to warm the room even more.  It is located in the lower floor of our house.  I will get some pictures to show what I have been up to, but like I said, I probably am doing things the hard way, but the honey has flown through the bucket and strainer I see.  Have a wonderful and best of days.  Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 09:04:21 AM »

I like extracting.  My hands and wrists get sore from crushing.

Quote
I think the crush and strain tastes slightly better.  I think the main reason is probably not getting any scorched honey from the uncapping knife.

I use a uncapping fork and that's it.  Quick, easy, and no heat.   cheesy  Of course once I get my TBH going, I'll be doing crush and strain with that comb, but I think I am going to devise some sort of contraption that will crush the comb for me.
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2008, 09:06:58 AM »

You'll get more honey and less wax when extracting.  I don't need anymore wax.

As far as thickness goes, sometimes that has to do with the floral source and the bees, but I find that if I warm my honey for a while to drive out the crystals it feels thinner.

I don't get scorched honey because my bread knife only gets heated to room temperature  tongue  I only get a scorched honey when I leave the toilet seat up again rolleyes  grin

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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2008, 09:26:00 AM »

tongue  I only get a scorched honey when I leave the toilet seat up again rolleyes  grin

Rick
[/quote]

Being the only female in the house, among 5 of these guys, I know about the scorched honey on the toilet seat, grrrrrr.  And then the dogs all drinking from the toilet, grrrrrr.  I am a scorched honey  grin rolleyes embarassed Wink Smiley  Have a wonderful day, and remember that toilet seat.  Cindi
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2008, 09:41:22 AM »

With me, I put the frames in the extractor. Spin it into a bucket that has a double layered sieve.

Place in bottle and sell to customer.

Sincerely,
Brendhan



My preference as well  grin
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2008, 09:48:43 AM »

My crush and strain honey granulated w/in three months while my extracted is still free running. Customers do not like crystalized honey no matter how often you tell them its not spoiled, just warm it speeches.
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2008, 09:52:55 AM »

I like extracting.  My hands and wrists get sore from crushing.

Quote
I think the crush and strain tastes slightly better.  I think the main reason is probably not getting any scorched honey from the uncapping knife.

I use a uncapping fork and that's it.  Quick, easy, and no heat.   cheesy  Of course once I get my TBH going, I'll be doing crush and strain with that comb, but I think I am going to devise some sort of contraption that will crush the comb for me.

i have been thinking of starting a tbh and wondering aboutthe extraction. Would a using rolling pin make any any sense?
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2008, 10:06:37 AM »

My crush and strain honey granulated w/in three months while my extracted is still free running. Customers do not like crystalized honey no matter how often you tell them its not spoiled, just warm it speeches.

Konasdad, that will be interesting for me.  I still have a small bit of honey left over from the season of 2006.  It is still in liquid form.  This past season 2007, the honeybees foraged on exactly the same flowers, etc.  I have done the crush and strain (actually am still doing it).  It will be very interesting to see if this honey granulates sooner.  Well, my old honey hasn't ever granulated, so we will see.  It will be an interesting accounting for sure and I will truly keep some pretty close tabs on the granulation thing, should it surface.  Great foods for thought.  Have the best and most wonderful day.  Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2008, 10:34:47 AM »

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i have been thinking of starting a tbh and wondering aboutthe extraction. Would a using rolling pin make any any sense?

Not sure.  I'd be interested to hear if others have tried this.  I was thinking something more along the lines of how apples are squeezed to make apple cider.
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2008, 01:05:33 PM »

My honey from 2006, all harvested crush and strain, has yet to crystallize - wonder if something else affects that process?

I use a pestle to crush the honey - quick work and my wrists don't get sore, mostly because there's not any wrist bending involved in using the pestle.

Like I said, ask a beekeeping question and ten beekeepers will give you ten different (and good) perspectives.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2008, 01:55:44 PM »

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I use a pestle to crush the honey - quick work and my wrists don't get sore, mostly because there's not any wrist bending involved in using the pestle.

Are you able to do a lot of comb at one time like this?
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2008, 02:12:34 PM »

The crush and strain waas done one week after the extracted honey. I thought the flow  was going to continue but it didn't so i had a few extra  frames i did. It sgould be the same floral sources.
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« Reply #22 on: January 15, 2008, 03:02:04 PM »

Extracting is faster, with less wax to filter out, the biggest benefit is that you don't destroy the comb and can save it and get more honey the next time because bee's don't have to draw out comb, plus with drawn comb you can go with 9 frames in a 10 frame super and it will make the comb easier to uncap because they draw out and cap past the top bars ... I only crush and strain cut out hives comb..... 
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« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2008, 03:38:09 PM »

Quote
I use a pestle to crush the honey - quick work and my wrists don't get sore, mostly because there's not any wrist bending involved in using the pestle.

Are you able to do a lot of comb at one time like this?


I only had three hives with honey to harvest this past year.  I took in one super a day - easily did the ten frames in the super quickly.  I was filming the whole thing so it took a little more time with the camera and tripod, etc.  But if you look at my video you can see how fast it is to crush the honey in each frame - ten frames done in no time. 

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/06/honey-harvest-crush-and-strain.html

With the three hives I did some cut comb honey (about one super's worth); I did some chunk honey (about two supers worth) and the rest I crushed and strained.  For me this whole beekeeping project is a project of love, learning and fun.  I'm not trying to produce to sell and I'm enjoying every minute of it (even the tragedies along the way) so I haven't focused on anything except the product and the process and what I can learn as I do it.

What I know for my goals and wishes out of the beekeeping is that crush and strain is fun, quick, produces absolutely delicious honey that doesn't have air added to it or heat applied to it in any way.  The process feels like what I want out of beekeeping to me - it's earthy and I'm not part of an "industry" - just a hobby. 

The extractor, when I used it at my Folk School class, felt very industrial to me.  We started by taking the thing apart and cleaning it.  Then we cut the cappings with an electric knife which created a mess in its space and on the floor and was something else to clean up.  Then we put frames in the extractor and ran it (it was a four frame extractor).  The cappings had to go into a straining bucket as well as the liquid honey from the extractor to get the bees knees out of it.  Then all of that had to be cleaned and the extractor had to be taken apart and cleaned again.  The floor had to be mopped and there was mess everywhere.  I felt like a part of a factory and didn't feel connected to the bees and the honey like I do when I crush and strain.

So it's a romantic thing for me as well, I guess, as I reread what I wrote.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #24 on: January 15, 2008, 04:17:15 PM »

Nicely done.  Thanks for the info.  I think that will work great.
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« Reply #25 on: January 15, 2008, 04:40:04 PM »

Absolutely Fabulous!

Everyone's replies are exactly what I am looking for; many questions have been answered without asking!

Who needs a mentor?? I have several dozen.....  Smiley Smiley Smiley

Ciao bella!
Gail
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« Reply #26 on: January 15, 2008, 08:59:05 PM »

Absolutely Fabulous!

Everyone's replies are exactly what I am looking for; many questions have been answered without asking!

Who needs a mentor?? I have several dozen.....  Smiley Smiley Smiley

Ciao bella!
Gail

Actually, on this forum there are hundreds, if not thousands.
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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2008, 10:06:12 PM »

I'm like Ted, I crush and strain cut out comb and extract my hive's comb. I think I heard that if honey has a higher sugar content than another it will crystalize faster. Can anyone shed some light here?

Sincerely, JP
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« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2008, 10:14:33 PM »

I'm like Ted, I crush and strain cut out comb and extract my hive's comb. I think I heard that if honey has a higher sugar content than another it will crystalize faster. Can anyone shed some light here?

Sincerely, JP

Higher sugar content?  Don't you mean relative moisture content?  Different nectar sources crystalize at different rates.  Ragweed does so quickly, mustard very slowly.  Using a refractometer to measure sugar content shows a variance of between 17.5-18.7 most of the time.  I haven't noticed if one sugars faster than the others on that basis--I think it more an enzyme thing within the nectar source.
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« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2008, 10:25:11 PM »

Why does honey crystallize?

http://scienceline.org/2007/04/09/ask-westly-crystallizedhoney/

Part of the National Honey Board write up on why honey crystallizes says that if there are tiny particles in the honey, this may speed crystallization.  So when I do crush and strain, I strain through all three of the filters Dadant sells and this may be why my honey from 2006 hasn't crystallized - few particles and what is there is tee-niny.  If Konasdad used a large filter, panty hose, etc. that may be why his honey crystallized when crushed and strained.....but who knows.  Here's the National Honey Board site:


Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2008, 11:21:02 PM »

Linda, if memory serves me, I don't think that straining through any number of straining clothes would stop crystalization, if it were to occur.  The granules that cause crystalization are so miniscule that they would go through any fine mesh, regardless of thickness or number of meshes.  So I think it is the floral sources your bees were foraging on.  Take for instance, fall aster honey is known to crystalize quickly.

I need to be corrected if this is wrong information I am giving.  Beautiful day, great life. Cindi
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« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2008, 12:51:59 AM »

That is one of the other things the article says - that floral source has a lot to do with crystallization - tupelo honey is one of the slowest to crystallize and that temperature at which it is stored has something to do with it as well. 

Anyway, I just didn't want the process of honey harvest to be blamed for crystallization since researching suggests many other factors and not that one.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2008, 06:14:12 AM »

>I think I heard that if honey has a higher sugar content than another it will crystalize faster. Can anyone shed some light here?

If it has high SUCROSE content it will crystallize faster as opposed to high FRUCTOSE content where it will crystallize slower.  Both are sugar.  But higher sugar content will also contribute (as in lower moisture content).
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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2008, 09:33:37 AM »

Hee, hee, you are all going to get a kick out of my crush and strain method.  It is working, but it is archaic and taking a long time.  I have a 2 frame extractor that was just plain and simple crap.  So I now am using it for the holding tank for the honey after I crush the comb.  My husband put holes in the bottom of a deep pail and attached this pail to the inside of the extractor pail with screws, so it is suspended in air.  Within this bucket I have a 5 gallon paint strainer, I use the spindle from my juice crusher to mash it up.  This works like the pestol that Linda used. 

Next year I am going to have so much honey that it will warrant the purchase of an extractor.  (Well, that is my great aspiration, 9 colonies still going strong, holding my breath).  There is a great post on different models of extractors, I will peruse that when it comes time to order it.  Best of a great day.  Cindi





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« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2008, 10:00:00 AM »

Why does honey crystallize?

http://scienceline.org/2007/04/09/ask-westly-crystallizedhoney/

Part of the National Honey Board write up on why honey crystallizes says that if there are tiny particles in the honey, this may speed crystallization.  So when I do crush and strain, I strain through all three of the filters Dadant sells and this may be why my honey from 2006 hasn't crystallized - few particles and what is there is tee-niny.  If Konasdad used a large filter, panty hose, etc. that may be why his honey crystallized when crushed and strained.....but who knows.  Here's the National Honey Board site:


Linda T in Atlanta



Good point. I "lightely filter" my honey. I run it through a collander first, then a dollar store strainer thats fits perfectly on my 5gal bucket. Looks like porch screen in mesh size. But I do thast w/ both extracted and crush and starin.

As for taste, the crush and starin tastes creamier and almost chokingly sweet. More bouquet initially as well. My nephews like it for finger dipping! extracted dripped on bannas and apples!

My customers really liked the "concept" of crush and strain as it was "more artisinal or old fashioned " and it was desired until it crystalized. Now I eat it!
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« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2008, 11:03:17 AM »

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I have a 2 frame extractor that was just plain and simple crap.

I always wondered if those were any good.  Glad I went with the stainless steel 4 frame.  I need to upgrade that sooner than later though.  800 hives in the next couple years is my goal.
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2008, 11:31:51 AM »

if you are also looking for wax as well as honey then crush and strain is the way to go. make those bees work.
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tillie
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« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2008, 04:59:32 PM »

And you can do so much with all that wax - learn to use a solar wax melter, make lovely lip balm, make hand lotion (my next endeavor), not to forget candles (which I haven't done at home yet)......

And you don't have to purchase foundation any more - I just put the remnants of comb back onto the hive in the cut out frame and the bees are happy with that as a starter.

And as Michael Bush and others have pointed out, it does not seem to impede the bees in production the next year - they make the wax they need and still produce honey - just as busy as bees!

Linda T in Atlanta
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Davepeg
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« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2008, 11:04:01 AM »

As a new beekeeper, we were fortunate to obtain an older 3 frame extractor that we have been using.  But as noted, it's a very messy process.
I am wondering about the crush method - I have some partial frames from a hive that did not survive the winter.  I wish to harvest the honey but I do not know how to use the crush method.  Can someone give me step by step instructions?
Thanks,
peg  huh
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annette
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« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2008, 12:49:39 PM »

Lets see if this works.

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/06/honey-harvest-crush-and-strain.html

Go to this website and watch the video step by step.

Good luck
Annette

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