What you will need: A 1 pound glass Queenline Jar – Candy thermometer – a quart jar – cooking pot – fine nylon for straining honey – spoon or toothpick – table knife for skimming. Plenty of time and patience.
Use a fully capped frame of honey so as to have the lowest moisture content possible. Use little or no smoke, as honey absorbs odors.
One pound Glass Queenline Jar (required): SABA supplies two of these Glass Queenline Jars to each paid member. I use nylon paint strainers for straining the honey. They can be found at almost any hardware store, or where paint is sold. They are cheap to buy and the right mesh for getting a very fine straining of the honey. Almost any fine nylon will work also.
- You can use filtered melted crystallized honey, or liquid honey from fully capped frames. I fill my quart jar about 2/3rds to 3/4ths full, so as to have plenty for my one pound Queenline jar. Place quart jar with honey in a cooking pot with water, at least half way up the jar. Heat on medium heat until honey reaches 130-140 degrees (using Cany thermometer to measure temp) I put a lid (no ring) on loosely. Honey draws moisture from the air, so I do not want my honey to gain any moisture from the steam from the water.
- Turn off heat and let the fine bubbles, wax and other particles float to the surface. No, I don’t know how long…maybe 20-30 minutes. Then take a spoon and begin skimming off the flotation. You may need to reheat and skim several times to get it all. (I think mine has mostly been three heatings and skimmings). Some honey clears quickly, some is more cloudy and may not become completely clear. Enter it anyway!
- When you are satisfied the honey is as clear and as particle free as you can get it, hold it up to the light and inspect your honey.
- After honey is completely clarified you are ready to pour it into the glass Queenline jar. (It pours best when very warm) very very slowly and gently pour the honey from the quart jar into the Queenline jar…along the side (like you would pour a bubbly drink). Continue to pour until the one pound jar is filled to within 1/4th inch from the top.
- Yes, I see a bubble in there! Here is where I get a toothpick or flat kitchen knife and carefully remove the bubble. Very carefully, as not to drizzle in the honey and create more bubbles. Double check to make sure the honey is 1/4th inch from the top.
- Ok! Almost done! Now I take a piece of thin plastic and lay it over the top of the jar and screw on the lid. Wipe the jar free of fingerprints, etc and head for the fairgrounds to enter! (the plastic wrap will be removed before judging, it’s there to keep honey from getting on the underside of the lid and possibly disqualifying. Don’t forget to take pictures of your entries for future bragging rights…customers love to hear what ribbons you have won with your honey.
Remember, you are never too “new at beekeeping” to make an entry. Nor is it even all about winning a ribbon! People from all over the world come to the fair and examine and enjoy our entries. It makes a beekeeper and his family so proud to see their honey displayed in a SABA’s display case at the fair!