I can’t believe how great the weather has been this year; some of our fruits seem to be ripening early and it looks like a bumper year for honey from our busy bees.
Whilst we’ve had our bees at Hen Corner since August 2011, this will be our third honey harvest and is so far looking like the best ever! In 2012 we collected 25lb of honey and first prize for ‘Best Honey in London; we were thrilled with that as most other London Beekeepers were only taking an average of 5lb off each hive. Last year, if you remember, was very wet meaning that the bees couldn’t get really busy on the nectar forage until July; 15lb was our harvest in 2013, and that was between two colonies. But this year, I’ve got almost 60 super frames loaded with ripe sealed honey. If you look at the picture, you can see that when the honey is ready, after the bees have reduced the water content of the gathered nectar by over 50%, they seal it with wax preserving it indefinitely. Did you know that they found perfectly good honey stored in the pyramids of Egypt? Each of these super frames, like the one that I’m holding, can contain approximately 3lbs of honey – that’s 6 jars full! I’ve got my new honey jars at the ready and will be harvesting the liquid gold at the beginning of September, this gives the bees a few more weeks to gather nectar from the late flowering herbs which adds a lovely botanical taste to the finished honey.
With this warm weather, some of the classic orchard fruits of autumn are ripening now and, in a sunny conservatory, it doesn’t take long for fruit to go past their best. Recently, I prepared and poached a selection of fruit (plums, apples & pears) with plans of making a crumble for dessert, but a hot crumble, even if served with ice cream, isn’t always the dessert of choice after alfresco dining or a BBQ. So in the fridge the compote sat. Then, after seeing a River Cottage Food Tube film by Tom Hunt – The Natural Cook, I decided to try my hand at a fruity cocktail. Into the blender I put handfuls of ice, a cupful of compote and a nice large glug of white rum and I was jolly pleased with the results – An Orchard Daiquiri!
Coming up at the Corner…
This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Throughout the next couple of months we will have three types of courses available: Urban Hens, keeping chickens in London, Family Feathers and Fun! and Pick and Pickle, an introduction to preserving.
Why not come and join us?
Book of the Blog Post:
By Pierre Herme
This book was recommended to me by a chef friend and gives wonderfully illustrated step by step instructions for the most marvellous macarons. I am determined to master them!
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We took Sapphire, our cat, to the vet and she said “Yes at 18, she’s like a 90-year-old woman, but she happy and healthy, just old” so she’s back home eating the tuna…
- We’ve welcomed a couple of teams from The Challenge to visit Hen Corner and hear them pitch their ideas for community projects.
- We’ve bought hundreds of new jam jars ready for this year’s honey harvest and preserving season.
Jobs for next week:
- Put the wasp guard on the Beehaus so they can’t steal the honey
- Buy a Kitchen Aid *swoon* to make the macarons
- Keep collecting the windfall apples to deter wasps from the lawn
Join us on the Journey!