Choosing the Type of Honey You Will Harvest from Your Beehive
What style of honey do you plan to harvest from your beehive? You have several different options. Each impacts what kind of honey harvesting equipment you purchase, because specific types of honey can be collected only by using specific tools and honey-gathering equipment. If you have more than one hive, you can designate each hive to produce a different style of honey.
Extracted honey is by far the most popular style of honey consumed in the United States. Wax cappings are sliced off the honeycomb, and liquid honey is removed (extracted) from the cells by centrifugal force. The honey is strained and then put in containers. The beekeeper needs an uncapping knife, extractor (spinner), and some kind of sieve to strain out the bits of wax and the occasional sticky bee.
Comb honey is honey just as the bees made it . . . still in the comb. Encouraging bees to make this kind of honey is a bit tricky. You need a very strong nectar flow to get the bees going. Watch for many warm sunny days and just the right amount of rain to produce a bounty of flowering plants. But harvesting comb honey is less time consuming than harvesting extracted honey. You simply remove the entire honeycomb and package it. You eat the whole thing: the wax and honey. It’s all edible!
Sometimes called cut comb, chunk honey refers to chunks of honeycomb that are placed in a wide-mouthed bottle and then filled with extracted liquid honey.
Also called creamed honey, spun honey, churned honey, candied honey, or honey fondant, whipped honey is a semisolid style of honey that’s popular in Europe. In time, all honey naturally forms coarse granules or crystals. By controlling the crystallization process you can produce fine crystals and create a smooth, spreadable product.
Granulated honey is honey that has formed sugar crystals. You make whipped honey by blending nine parts of extracted liquid honey with one part of finely granulated (crystallized) honey. The resulting consistency of whipped honey is thick, ultrasmooth, and can be spread on toast like butter. Making it takes a fair amount of work, but it’s worth it!