How to Make Preserved Lemons

Many Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes utilize preserved lemons. Preserved lemons are essentially pickled in salt and their own acidic juices. This is simple and like so many things, waiting is the hardest part, as it takes at least 3-4 weeks until they are ready to use. Inspired by NPRs Kitchen Window and the lovely color yellow. Looking for other lemon ideas – check out my blog post “When life hands you lemons“….


What do you need:

  • 8-10 Meyer lemons, scrubbed very clean (any lemon will do though, just fine)
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed
  • Sterilized quart canning jar (a washed out spaghetti jar will work too)

Directions:

  • Place 2 Tbsp of salt in the bottom of a sterilized jar.
  • Prepare each of the lemons in the same following way. Cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Then cut the lemons as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwise from the top – but do not cut them all the way through, so they are attached at the bottom. Make another cut in the same way to quarter the lemon but still hooked at the bottom.
  • Open the lemons and generously sprinkle salt all over the inside and outside of the fruit.
  • Pack the lemons in the jar. Don’t be a wuss and really squish them down so that juice is squeezed out. Subsequently, the lemon juice fills to the top of the jar. Make sure the top is covered with lemon juice. If you seem to be short, add more squeezed lemon juice to make up the different and a few more table spoons of salt for good measure.
  • Put the lid on the jar and then just let sit at room temperature for a 3-4 days. Invert the jar back and forth occasionally.
  • Put in refrigerator and let it sit quietly, again inverting occasionally, for at least 3 weeks, until the rinds soften.
  • To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly under tap water to wash off the salt. The use the rind and maybe even pulp as desired.
  • Stores in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  • You can add spices to the lemons that match the cuisine style such as full cloves, coriander, whole peppercorns, chilies, cinnamon (sticks), bay leaf.


Dave Lebovitz from Sweet Life in Paris has a similar recipe and a nice roster of uses.

Other preserved lemon ideas:

Stability at all times : life’s funny connections of car and hen

To all those chicken loving and/or Mercedes Benz owners out there….

This linked shared by a friend couldn’t have come at a better time. A good laugh and a good piece of life wisdom, deep thoughts.

May we all have stability at all times.

Some of my girls….

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Now that is some magical body control. I may have to create my own parody….

Madame Wong’s Steamed Pear Dessert

Many of you have heard my rant before about Asian desserts and also know that I love old school cookbooks and recipes. Madame Wong’s Long-Life Chinese Cookbook (1977) is a more recent edition to my cookshelf and happens to have one of the shortest dessert chapters ever. Featured alongside recipes for Almond Delight (extract flavored gelatin), Eight Precious Pudding (good luck for sure), Peking Wall (dried fruit and nuts stacked like a wall) and Red-in-Snow Mousse (sounds communist and involves crab apples) is Steamed Pears.

Unassuming, of Peking Tradition, two ingredients, no gelatin and a serving of Chinese wisdom. This turned out tasty, perfect fall but does need (like so many things) whipping cream or vanilla ice cream dolloped alongside.


Steamed Pears

Pears are a popular Chinese dessert. They are good for colds and coughs and are soothing to the throat. This fruit is said to stop aging and keep you young. It is advisable for those with high blood pressure to eat pears often.

  • 6 pears
  • 6 tablespoons honey

Cut 1-2 inches from the top of each pear. Reserve tops for lids. Core each pear but do not make a hole in the bottom. I used my trusty melon baller. Then fill the pears with honey. I also sprinkled just a pinch of cinnamon on the top of the pear before replacing the lid. Place pears upright on a plate. Place the plate on a rack in a bottom or steamer. Steam covered for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Could prepare up to the point of steaming in advance.

These were quite tasty. For pears, since I canned up all my Asian pears (and they would probably be too watery and crisp for this), I used Bosc and a random Velveteen pear.

Here is a link to two more great pear recipes.

Wondering what the heck the other desserts are? Me too. I haven’t made them yet (or maybe ever) but happily share the recipes below. If you make them let me know.

Almond Delight –You must be serene when you cook Chinese.


Eight Precious Pudding – This is a famous traditional banquet dessert. Usually it contains eight kinds of dried candied fruits that represent eight precious stones. The combination of sweet rice and bean paste gives it an exquisite taste. [beans are not dessert]


Red Bean Paste Recipe


Peking Wall – This wall is a thing of beauty, not only to see but to taste, as well. [I think it might actually be fun to build and you would learn a cool new skill to make threads with chopsticks].

Red-in-Snow Mousse – This is a Western dessert, turned Chinese with crab apple sauce by the proprietor of Sun Ya restaurant in Shanghai 50 years ago. Red is the color that gladdens the heart of ant Oriental, it has become a most popular dessert. [as mentioned, sounds a wee bit communist and likely the represents two of the few crab apple recipes out there.] Involves a Jell-O mold so you now its legit.


Red Bean Paste


So who is Madame Wong? If alive today, she be 108 years old. (she was in her 70s when her book was published). Earned legend status teaching at UCLA in Extension classes. Her mantra was “Be optimistic, ignore bad things, love people, think of others more, and of course, eat well-balanced meals.” Favorite foods: Bean curd and bok choy. Was friends with Barbara Streisand. Madame Wong passed away in 2008 (age 103), and truly lived a long life.

Words of Wisdom from Madame Wong – No medicine can cure stupidity.

Looking forward to cooking more tasty dishes!

Resources and other Madame Wong Features:

Preserving Perfect Pear Recipes

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I have been blessed with a reliable and prolific Asian pear tree in my back yard (unlike my zucchini plants). This was another bumper crop weighing in around 30 pounds, not counting the “downer fruit” that I gave to the chickens. As such, I have a two goto recipes to put away these delicious pears for the months ahead. There is no reason these couldn’t be adapted for other pear varietals, in fact most recipes aren’t written for Asian pears, so I am always pleased when they work out.

Pear Spread – adapted from The Joy of Jams and Jellies (L. Ziedrich)

  • 3 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • If wanting to do low sugar version: use half the sugar and low sugar pectin 1 – 2 Tablespoons
  • Extra credit: vanilla bean/paste, candied or minced fresh ginger etc

Makes about 3 pints. Technically this is a jam recipe but I call it a spread so that there aren’t any “expectations” not met if it doesn’t set up perfectly….

  • Combine the pears and lemon juice in a preserving pain (I use a big sauté), cover the pan and set it over low heat.
  • Simmer the pears, stirring occasionally until they are soft, 20-30 minutes.
  • Puree the pears in a blender. Be careful they are hot and you need to let the steam escape. Start at a low speed and increase to avoid it sputtering out on you! You could also use a food mill or processor.
  • Return the pear puree to the pan and stir in sugar (and pectin if using). Over low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves and then raise the heat to medium high. Add the ginger if using. Bring to a boil and continue to boil it stirring constantly (of find someone else to stir) for 15 minutes, until the mystical test of heavy falling jam is passed. Remove the pan from heat and stir until bubbling stops. Mix in vanilla paste at this point if using
  • Ladle the jam into the prepared jars, put on the lids and process for 10 minutes.

Notes:

  • I use less than perfect pears to make this jam (save the prettier ones for the wine sauce, since they are whole). What does this statement mean? I cut around the wormy or bruised parts, yes there are worms (pictorial evidence below). Still standing to tell the tale.
  • The low sugar version turned out great and I will likely make this the standard instead of the full sugar.

Pear Blueberry Jam

A while back I made blueberry jam and also took the chance to re-can a few jars of pear jam that didn’t seal right away and were just put right into the freezer. I wanted to keep the jams separate with a layered look, so after thawing the pear jam and reheated to a boil and ladled part of it into prepared jars, added a layer of prepared blueberry jam on top then another layer of pear etc. I processed for 10 minutes. I think that it turned out beautifully (and tastes delicious to boot).

Another favorite I have shared before but worthy of repeating, a few updates to add.

Pears in Wine Sauce– adapted from The Joy of Jams and Jellies (L. Ziedrich)

Makes perfect pears for enjoying on the spot or canning for later (Gifts! Holidays! Pretty in jars!)

  • 3 cups red wine (aka one bottle) – recommend not too tannic, I just use what is around the house and not spendy
  • ~ 3/4 cup sugar
  • Cinnamon sticks (2-4 inches)
  • 4 lbs pears

Makes about 2 quarts, but not super specific. I recommend pint jars, enough for about 3-4 servings with a quality vanilla ice cream. Ok to double, triple this recipe, as long as your pot is big enough

  • Peal, core and slice pears. I use a melon baller for easy and nice looking coring. Also, sometimes I leave a stem on for decoration.
  • Bring wine, sugar and cinnamon to a boil. Add pears and let them poach for ~ 15 minutes. With Asian pears they don’t really get soft, but you would want to watch that with other types
  • Transfer the pears into the jars. then add in liquid. Pack them in. Using big and small pear slices help. Some are full halves, others quarter or smaller pears. Leave about 1/2 inch head space.
  • Process in hot water bath for 25 minutes. Let sit in canner with heat off for 5 minutes or so.
  • To serve: heat and bring liquid to a boil, remove pears to individual bowls and reduce the wine sauce a little more if you like. Scoop up each bowl with vanilla ice cream and then ladle in some of the sauce (melty!) and if you like sprinkle a touch of crunchy granola on top.

Notes:

  • I have made these with white wine and the turned out tasty but I think the red looks prettier in the jar. I prepared them for a dinner party recently and mixed together a jar of white wine and two red. Turned out as good as ever.

Want some more details on how I do hot water bath canning?

Zucchini: Those who can’t grow, give recipes

For some reason, I managed to have the least productive zucchini plants ever, two years in a row. Sure, I know what I can do better, but come on, it doesn’t have to be this way. They SHOULD grow like weeds; less is more.

This actually makes me a little sad, I like zucchini; I feel bad buying it at the grocery; my mom is a zucchini rockstar. One time allegedly my mom hopped on the back of my dad’s motorcycle (read: get-away car) and did some drive by zucchini-ing, leaving them in bags on unsuspecting friends doorsteps. I am letting her down.

I have decided though to selectively apply that age old adage : those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. In no way is this all inclusive, just an opportunity to share my ONE zucchini dish this year, some not so subtle family zucchini favorites and a few links to some other fantastic recipes.

Savory Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Serves 2-4 people

  • 2 medium to large Zucchini (bigger will just need a little longer in the oven
  • ½ pound sausage with casings removed, I love spicy!
  • 1 to 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped scallion
  • 1 T butter
  • Grated parmesan or Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. Brown the sausage along with butter. Add in the tomatoes and scallions – finish cooking. Prep the zucchini by slicing in half, scooping out the seeds in the middle. Spoon in the sausage filling into the hollowed out zucchini, Grate cheese over the top. Be as generous as you want with the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or so, in a foil lined 13 x 9 inch pan (easy clean up). We also put an egg on it. I would say this didn’t add much and next time, if feeling eggy, will just fry up and put on when done versus baking.

Mom’s Recipes

Zucchini Garden Chowder

Serves: 8-10, 2.5 quarters

  • 2 medium zucchini chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 cup water
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes-undrained
  • 1- 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 – 10oz package frozen corn
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle over medium heat, sauté zucchini, onion, parsley and basil in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in water. Add the bouillon and lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, milk and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until corn is tender. Just before serving, stir in cheeses until melted. Add pinch sugar and garnish with parsley.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (oh, so moist!)

  • ½ cup softened margarine
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup SOUR milk (butter milk or milk with some lemon juice)
  • 2 ½ cup flour
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup nuts (optional)

Mix the first 6 ingredients together (“wet”). In another bowl, mix the next five ingredients (“dry) and then mix together into the first bowl. Add the chopped zucchini and mix by hand. Pour into a greased and floured pan (try using additional cocoa powder instead of flour). Sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes. Yumm! Vegetable cake. J

Good things to go check out

Be sure to check out this great post for a tasty muffin recipe featuring the star ingredient and some bonus treats like dried apple and raisins. Zucchini after grating, freezes well, so that you don’t have to actually consume your body weigh in gourds if you don’t want to…..

http://recipesandraisedbeds.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/zucchini-muffins/

Other sources for what to do with zucchini, but in now way captures the myriad of applications out there. TNTC!!

Wow! There are lots of blogs with zucchini in their name… who knew. The one thing I haven’t been able to find though is a recipe that sounds like this sugared grated zucchini tart we had in Suzhou (the “venice of the east”) China … the search continues.

Please share your favorite zucchini recipes or stories!

Lifeboat Thoughts: Ten Habits of Great Friends

Why share on my blog? Fight Inertia! Realizing the importance of relationships and that like everything else in life, you reap what you sow. This will also ensure a high level of accountability and internalization as I incorporate it into Odds & Hens. Not sharing because I am good at it, sharing because you deserve it.

What is Lifeboat? And I quote…. “Lifeboat is a movement of people rediscovering great friendships. We’re not a social network or app […] We’re about simple things that work […]for a better path forward.”

  • Get started: CHECKLIST, figuring out who would be in that floating boat
  • Goodies (like a video, manifesto)

Today: Ten Habits of Great Friends

No sense waxing poetic around the fact that there are some good habits out there to go and get. Maybe replace some bad habits? A great top ten list straight from the annals of Lifeboat.

  1. Go deep, not wide. It’s not the number of friends you have, it’s the quality of your relationships.
  2. Show some skin. Being vulnerable with your close friends increases trust, support and loyalty.
  3. Give 1% more. American adults spend only 4% of their time with friends (down from 30% as teens).
  4. Don’t Trust Fail. Every interaction is one that either builds or diminishes trust. Little things count.
  5. Break the inertia. We tend to gravitate towards people who are like us. Making purposeful decisions about who you seek out, why you seek them out and how you seek them out can make your friendships align more clearly with the person you want to be.
  6. Show up. Getting together with friends in adulthood can seem as complicated as launching a space shuttle.
  7. Initiate activities. Some friends tend to invite. Others tend to accept. If you are in the latter category, think about flipping the equation by initiating more activities.
  8. The Internet is not the easy button. The Internet is awesome. But make sure it enhances your relationships rather than replaces them.
  9. Be remarkable. Friendship should be fun. Plan a remarkable activity with each of your close friends annually.
  10. Tell them about it. Don’t take it for granted that your friends know how much they mean to you. Tell them.

PSBA Day of Learning: Natural & Lazy Beekeeping with Michael Bush

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Puget Sound Beekeepers Association hosted a jammed packed “Day of Learning” at the University of Washington Arboretum. Hating to miss a chance to beek out with the best of them, I signed up. Hating to miss a great blog post, I documented it with near Pulitzer worthy diligence. I also find myself gravitating towards his style of beekeeping, as it is intuitive, low on  interventions (unnatural or otherwise, less intense (it can get really intense) and I truly believe the bees know better than I.

Itinerary:

  • Michael Bush (of Bush Bee Farm Fame!) lecture on Four Simple Steps and Lazy Beekeeping (you can check out the same presentations here)
  • Hands on learning stations with great topics like waggle dance, queen marking, gardening, winterizing your hive (I am woefully behind), honey tasting
  • Apiary time with Michael Bush – working with a true bee keeping guru

Goals for the day

  • End the day a better steward for honey bees – CHECK!
  • Have fun! CHECK
  • Have an open mind to new ways of beekeeping – CHECK!
  • Learn something. Check. Check!

Here is a quick peak at the highlights for me.

The Four Simple Steps: What did I learn?

  1. No treatments:
    • Not even essential oils
    • Bees don’t eat pollen, they collect it and convert it to Bee Bread (analogy: cabbage to sauerkraut)
    • All about balance in hive – pH, ecology
    • Chemicals interfere with natural hive communication
    • Lots of other things live in the hive ecosystem: 170 kinds of mites (but only 3 are harmful), 30 insects and 8,000 microorganisms
    • Acaracides – are really pesticides in disguise (read kills bees and mites)
  2. Breed local survivors:
    • I need to find a more local package bee/queen supplier OR raise my own.
    • Great quote: If you are not part of the genetic solution of breeding mite tolerant bees, you are part of the problem – Randy Oliver
    • Hive health really depends on the queens health
    • Raising your own queens (or the hives raising it) helps to avoid the genetic bottleneck by breading in good characteristics (or weak ones out)
  3. Use natural food
    • MB uses a 5:3 syrup but only if there is a dearth and there is room (hive is light)
    • Add ascorbic acid to syrup so pH of syrup is closer to honey (you can test with pH strips) – will need to update my syrup post
    • Demo’d a method for dry sugar feeding in winter
    • Don’t wrap your hives (he doesn’t in Nebraska –brr) – not so much about food but key for winterizing, confirmed by local beek
  4. Use natural comb
    • Theory about cell size and influence on bee size/health (e.g. Bandoux, Huber)
    • Ways to make natural comb frames
    • What a cubit is (elbow to finger)
    • Bees build parallel combs, plum to gravity. If you see crooked comb fixit (already knew this but good to repeat – see what happens when you don’t. Remove your queen cage)

Self assessment: I do pretty good on all of them except # 2. For now I will gladly support someone else business of raising queens and packages. For #1, I will trial not using lemongrass to scent my syrup and slowing take the foundation out of my frames, so it matches my top bar.

The PSBA Apiary

Warre Hive – someday maybe in my bee yard

Check out these queen cells – up close and personal.

Waggle Dance Demonstration: mark them leaving observation hive and mark them at the food source strategically placed to learn how the bees communicate with unbelievable precision. Big take away – bees are the worlds best plant ecologists and the key to our sustainability.

Gardening: new plant to add, orange mint, in a pot and with vodka!

Love the bunting!

Arts and Crafts

DIY Push In Queen Cage – going to try this in the spring. MB FAQ

Queen Marking Practice: using drones (they don’t sting) and non-toxic water based paint pens. Note the international color coding system for marking queens. Five year rotation

Everything works if you let it – Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick

Ribbon Wands : Easy DIY for any party or wedding

This might just be the most versatile party favor since donating to a charity. Ribbon wands! You can make these for just about every occasion – kids party, baby shower, wedding recessional, reception, Old School gymnastics re-enactment (or to jazz up your version of Napoleon Dynamite), music class (calling all teachers) or every day imagination play. This DIY is for an upcoming wedding where the venue does not allow rice, confetti, birds, butterflies, bubbles, fireworks etc (read almost anything fun). Note Bells and Ribbons are totally kosher. Bells are not necessary but would require extra hoots from wavers. Pictures of the wands in full celebration action to be posted after the special day.

Not crafty? There are quite a few Etsy shops that offer them, including myself @ oddsandhens. Let’s chat! I would be happy to teach your bridesmaids or MIL how to do this too.

Ribbon Wand with Bells DIY

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Supply List and Expenses – everything can be found at your local craft store (Michaels, Joann, Hobby Lobby) or well stocked craft room. This was for about 100 wands. If you have time and access to buy ribbon in bulk, that will help to decrease the cost possibly but find one that will send you samples to see the colors.

Be sure to use coupons! I love the craft store apps that organize them for me. Time estimate and “cost” will really vary with how much experimenting you do and how you value your time….. I made 100 over the course of two movies (Olympus Has Fallen and Oblivion) and an extra two or three hours of Criminal Minds.

  • Get inspired! Decide on what colors, how many strands length, bell or no etc. I did a mix of purples (I swear even though it photographs kinda blue) and widths (7/8, 2 x 3/8, 5/8 + 3/8) due in large part to the fact that I clean out two craft stores to get enough ribbon. After deciding on a length, be sure to calculate how much ribbon you need. For example one spool of 7/8 inch grosgrain ribbon contained 18 feet of ribbon, so if the ribbons are 20 inches (a little over 1.5 times the length of the dowel) then take 18 x 12 and divide by 20 to get the number of ribbon lengths from each spool (aka 216 inches or 10.8 lengths. So fudge some lengths a bit to avoid waste). You might also decide to paint the dowels too.

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  • Go shopping! Depending on your business model or accounting, this might be good time to track. I don’t (yet) as I love wandering the aisles and invariable take detours.
  • Set up a plan of attack! Once you get your process figured out the assemble goes fast. I did several trial wands to decide on 1) the length of ribbons for the dowel 2) color scheme 3) adding in gold or cream accents (decided not too) 4) how to attached the ribbons (I glued, other use a screwed in loop and tied or just tied onto dowel) and 5) how to attach the bell if that is what you are doing (gluing on seemed to dampen the sound, so ended up sewing on)

  • Ready. Set. Cut the ribbon.

  • Affix ribbon to dowel. I bought my dowels at the right length but if need be you can buy them longer and cut to length. I used a piece of scotch tape to attach it to the dowel and then some hot glue to the ribbon. Just roll it up so that the tape is all covered. Alternatively you can tie them on (see second collage – it is a different color purple BTW)

  • Attach the bell to the end of each one with knot on the inside and loop through the other so that it pulls tight to the top of the dowel. Knot again. Put a dab of Fray check on the threads. Here is a version with gold bells.

  • Trim the ribbons and finish the ends wither with a heat source to melt or Fray check. You could also use pinking shears, but it will still unravel a bit.

  • Eureka!

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See my other post featuring another craft for the same wedding: Reception Chair Signs

Other great blog tutorials for ribbon wands:

Labor Day Hive Check: Starting the Honey Harvest

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A little history from Wikipedia: Labor Day is a celebration of the American labor movement – commemorating the social and economic achievements of workers. Dating back to 1882, this is “relatively new” holiday (you know versus Christmas) but today it is much more about the end of summer, retiring white fashion, back to school sales and barbeques. Nonetheless, let us observe the real labors on my block, the honeybees. In addition to this human holiday, National Honeybee Day is another great day to say thank you. Below is an endearing “Thank You” I received from a friend’s child after giving him some honey. He is pretty sure he spotted some of my bees in his yard (~ 20 miles away) and was quite excited.

This hive check intention was to pull frames for Honey Harvest 2013. I have a busy month and a half ahead of me and don’t want to “overwait” (read procrastinate anymore). I also want to feed the hives a bit before late fall (see post on feeding with syrup) and the girls will need time to store the syrup away, even though I am not greedy when taking honey. There are quite a few items for consideration when harvesting.

  • Geographical location: get connected
  • Honey water content: Honey is ready when it is at or below 18%
  • Scale or number of hives
  • Plan for removing bees from the frames: brush/shake off, fumigate/deter, bee escape, bee blower, abandon
  • Method to extract honey: crush comb vs. centrifuge vs. cut comb vs. melting
  • Type of honey: harvesting at key times of year to capture a specific honey varietal or once towards the end
  • Health of hive: each year I have had a hive that doesn’t have surplus honey for me to remove
  • Hive style: traditional vs. Warre vs. Top bar frames might not succeed in the variations types of extraction
  • Destination for wax: candles, soap, compost

Bees cap honey when it is at the right concentration, so don’t take frames with less than 90% of comb capped – it will spoil sooner. You can by a tool for measuring but I think the girls know best. Here is a picture of a top bar comb that is all sealed up with a pocket of empty brood. I won’t crush the empty part, just cut it out when the time comes. I don’t need to add wax to the strainer and there are a few larvae still there (the lighter solid caps). Below that is a frame full of honey out of the Langstroth hive.

I use the crush comb method as I don’t want to hassle with renting or buying or coordinating an extraction centrifuge, capping knife etc. I use our trusty friend gravity and some strainers – more on this in a later post. To get the bees off the frames, I haven’t experimented with all the different methods but will say that I use a combination of “abandon – leave out until dark and bees go home” and brushing. However, this year, after two particularly painful stings (brushing bees agitates them) decided to add a power tool to the line up – air compressor. This hobby just suddenly went up in the cool meter with the hubs.

Supplies: smoker, fuel, lighter, tote with lid for frames, bee removal items, hive tool, frame holder, sweatband (cause it is mighty hot!), empty super to put frames in before you get all bees off.

I did have some honey loss (which I knew would happen) when I left part of the frames standing on end in the super waiting for the sun to go down and the girls to go home. The air compressor worked pretty good and it isn’t a particularly beefy one, but the key is to be away from any fence, wall etc and to blow them back towards home, not into the ground etc. Bees reportedly do not find wind aggressive. HOWEVER, blowing with your own hot air on bees activates them – it’s the carbon dioxide. Think about that next time….

In my last posted inspection, I shared the creative comb building in my top bar. It didn’t get worse this time but I had the comb break off and had to reach both hands with a hive tool to scoop it out. Moderate mess, but cleaned up and the girls were really patient. I left it for them in a tote since I had a lot of honey. I spy with my little eye, the queen cage holding it all together….

In this close up you can see the bees drinking the honey (bee tongue = proboscis). This is one of the responses to smoking them. They fear a fire is destroying their home and prepare to flee but need to load up their sweet loot. This impairs their reflexes and ability to sting – still mad though. Kind of like that feeling on Thanksgiving Day…..when you just watch whatever channel is on because you can’t reach the remote. Sort of.

Frames in the tote. Note that for the top bar you just need to flip it (deftly) upside down and rest it on the wood bar.

Great resources for Honey Harvest information: