Saturday, October 20, 2012

Juicing Honey

All the way back in April, I wrote about using a potato masher to crush honeycomb in order to extract honey out of it and I also posted a link to Milkwood Permaculture’s method of doing the same thing, but with a fruit press. Inspired by this method of Milkwood’s, as well as the introduction of Warré hives across the board at the community garden, the crew at Gold Coast Permaculture ordered their very own contraption.

Honey flowing out of the fruit press

The fruit press is indeed an effective method for extracting honey: it squeezes nearly every last drop of the stuff out of the wax. The only problem (if you can call it that) we have found with it is that it takes a painstakingly long time to complete. Although, you’re able to leave it on the bench/floor and let it do its thing so it’s not as if you have to be there for the whole time.  You do have to go back and screw it down some more though. As I’ve said before, the advantage of crushing the honeycomb rather than spinning it is that it allows the nutrients from the hive (pollen, etc) to become part of the honey you eat. It also gives the bees an opportunity to reconstruct the wax every extraction, thereby reducing the chance of disease occurring in the hive from the recycling of old wax and also takes pressure off the bees in terms of honey production. It's a busy time of year for the bees and there have already been a couple of swarms that have had to be collected this Spring. 
All in all, the fruit press is  a nice new toy that we’ve had fun playing with and will be used many times in the years to come (all those bees swarming in the photos above have to go somewhere - and that somewhere is new beehives!). We probably won’t be using it to make fruit juice though… honey is messy enough, let alone fruit pulp! We've also introduced selling a "new" product - honeycomb! As well as being great fun to munch on for a sugar boost, it will hopefully also decrease the amount of work we need to put into the fruit press! :-P 
On a side note – Gold Coast Permaculture holds workshops at the community garden on most Saturdays and last weekend (13 October) there was a soap-making workshop followed by a cheese-making one. They guy who runs cheese-making is seriously fantastic and I was a little bit disappointed I wasn’t able to drag myself out of bed (had a late night at a symphony orchestra concert – I apologise for not being you’re stereotypical Gen Y) . We did however reap the benefits of it with 4L of fresh, raw milk. Mmmm. The best part is using the cream that floats to the top for a rich hot chocolate! I often get an upset stomach from the rubbish in the supermarket but I could seriously drink this raw stuff forever. 

- Matilda

P.S. After straining the honey into large buckets, there was still some honey stuck in the wax and to the sides of the honey sieve. So, we brought it home for the balcony bees! It was absolutely amazing to watch them feed... 


  1. What wonderful photographs Matilda. And, a wonderful story as well.

  2. This is so much fun to read!