The 2018 Harvest

The girls gave us 33 quarts, 25 pints, 9 half-pints, and 1/2 gallon, most of which have been bartered and gifted away. That’s just under 13 gallons of honey. There were also some extraneous amounts of honey that might not have gotten to the right sugar content, making it susceptible to fermentation, so we took another gallon or two to make into honey wine. We’ve had honey wine off and on as a little aperitif or dessert drink since September.

2018’s harvest is lighter in color, sweeter in taste, and has greater potential to crystallize than our harvest from 2017. If we gave you some honey and it crystallized, not to worry. Stick it in your microwave. If, like us, you don’t have a microwave, give it a hot water bath. We’ve been enjoying it as honey butter.

The honey wine is a real treat and probably should only be made when one has access to lots of honey. In a half-gallon jar or other large glass vessel, make 2:1 to water to honey. We took large clumps of rosemary from the backyard, boiled it, and let sit for the afternoon, ending up with a strong rosemary tea. This bitterness of the rosemary pairs so nicely with the honey. Stir this concoction 2 to 3 times a day for probably around a week or once the bubbles start forming. Store in your jar with a cloth kept over, so wild yeast can form in the honey wine. Once the bubbles start, fermentation is happening, decide how long to let it go. A few days is fine. Then put in the fridge and enjoy as desired in small glasses.

Bear’s Backyard Honey

Backyard honey is richer and more complex than the commercial honey commonly found in stores.

All honeys get their flavor from the blooms that the bees forage on. With backyard honey, the bees get nectar from the flowers grown by our neighbors. Because the nectar might come from hundreds of different flowers rather than just a handful of sources (i.e., apple or clover), backyard honey has many layers and its complex deliciousness makes it special.

When you eat Bear’s Backyard Honey, you’re tasting the effects of weather and season on our neighbors’ gardens.  Lavender, squash blossoms, raspberries, Himalayan blackberry, dandelions, borage, phacelia, clover, and many other sources known only to the bees, combine to create complex layers in the honey’s taste.

This year’s version of Bear’s Backyard Honey is a dark caramel brown, most likely because of the buckwheat and knotweed found not far from our Bellingham home near Cornwall Park. It also has a taste of lavender from the plants found in Bear’s backyard, which are a favorite with all kinds of pollinators.

Bear’s Backyard Honey is sweet and brown just like Bear himself.

Raw and unfiltered honey