Updated: Nov 15
This quote by Rusty Burlew is awesome!
"Extracted honey can never hold a candle to honey in the comb. Imagine harvesting the choicest Zinfandel, Chianti, Syrah, and Merlot, then swirling them all together in a cavernous vat. The result is anemic red wine. The high notes and the low, the color, and the bouquet are all confused into an insipid muddle not memorable in the least. The word that comes to mind is “boring.”
Comb honey, on the other hand, is a magical experience. Each individual cell is a unique flavor packet. The contents were harvested in a relatively short period of time — perhaps only a day — and often the nectar came from a single species, or nearly so. It doesn’t have the same flavor as the honey harvested ten days later, or twenty. Chances are it’s not the same honey that’s packed in the next super or even the next frame.
The only way to taste the nuanced tang of day-to-day production is to leave the honey in the comb until you’re ready to eat it. Savoring honey cell-by-cell and comparing the flavors of cells with different colors is a one-of-a kind adventure, experienced by very few in our modern world where maximum production is the gold standard."
She writes this in a column that she recently published in American Bee Journal, Volume 160 No 2, February 2020, pp. 157-161.
Many people are confused by how to eat comb honey. Rusty's article lays out some really great ways to enjoy it. Personally, I enjoy it most on a cheese board or a charcuterie board. One of my favorite restaurants, Eighty Acres in Plum serves it on a beautiful gathering board. I cannot wait for them to re-open.
photo credit to Michael O'Malley
Rusty really captures the beauty that is comb honey. Besides being delicious to enjoy, it is a bit challenging to create beautiful, sale worthy honey comb. While the visual doesn't change the flavor, it does change the presentation, so it needs to look great.
Beekeeping shouldn't be hard and making honey comb also shouldn't be hard because the bees do all of the work. But, it is hard to make "nice". It is hard to get the bees to make it so that it fits in our nice little packages.
For the last several years, I have managed to produce to some beautiful and delicious honey comb. But every time I see the bees finally doing what they are supposed to do, I get a little thrill at both the success and the beauty.
Yesterday, I was in my Apollo Apiary and one of my comb boxes is really started to fill in nicely.
As you can see in this first photo, the bees are beginning to draw out the wax.
And the center frames are filling with very light, almost water white, nectar.
The bees will spend the rest of the spring, drawing comb and filling it with nectar. As the nectar dries, the bees will cap it over. Once it is capped over, it can be cut and placed in a container to be sold to you!
This crop wont be ready for a few months but I still have delicious fall honey available and a limited supply of last year's spring honey. You can check it out on my store.
Thanks for reading!