Last weekend we managed to find time to take our first spring-time honey harvest. We live in rural South Oxfordshire where most of the land is under grain production and of course, oil seed rape is one of the rotations. We were not sure how much rape was in our honey as the nearest field has been over a mile away and the blackthorn, hawthorn and other tree blossom has been nearer and plentiful. Each week in May we checked to see if the honey was trying to set and then a week ago we saw the first signs. We put the clearer boards in and took the supers off two days later. In that time about 10% of the honey had begun to set. I guess that was because the bees had been keeping it warm and when we cleared the out the temperature in the supers dropped.
We decided that we needed a really warm environment for the extraction. My creative-thinking husband suggested the conservatory which is south facing and was sunny. This worked a treat although we all needed large amounts of water to avoid collapsing with the heat.
We have been having queen trouble for the last few weeks so the bees have not really been producing honey since mid April. In spite of that we got two supers from one hive and one from another. In total it came to 50 jars of honey so we were delighted (but very sticky).
We left the last of it draining through the double sieve over night in the kitchen and by morning it had thickened so much that it was no longer going through the sieve at all. That just shows the difference room temperature makes with rape honey.
Its pale and taste mild with an almost peppery aftertaste. I hope that the friends and family who have placed order like it.