Friday, August 26, 2011

Honey, Honey!

Jeremy and I checked on our bees on Monday.   We were looking for one thing--Honey!  We added a superstructure on top of the two hive bodies when we got back from vacation.  The honey from the supers is what we will extract and harvest for our own use.

The bees had been busy drawing comb on the new frames in the super.  It always takes them longer the first year because they have to form all new honeycomb,  Later years they have a base layer of honeycomb to just add on to so they can get started with the honey-making sooner. 

We saw the very first two cells of capped honey in the super.  The bees won't cap it until it until it's ready.  They fan it with their wings to evaporate excess water which would cause the honey to ferment.  When it's ready they know, and then they cap it.

I'll admit I was a little disappointed that there wasn't any more capped honey already.

But then we started inspecting the other hive bodies and found that the upper hive body was entirely filled with capped honey!  That's good for a number of reasons.  First we know that they will have enough food this winter.  Second, we know that from here on out, for the rest of the summer, the bees are working for us!  So we will definitely be getting honey this year. 

We had been looking for honey because our friends were going to do some extracting that night.  They sell at the farmers' market and were running low on honey for sale.  So despite not having honey of our own to harvest --yet-- Jeremy and I each took turns heading down to work with our friends to begin learning to process of extraction.

Since it really was helpful to have a few hours of help, they gave Jeremy a quart of honey for his time.  The boys wanted to try some right away, but since it was bedtime we suggested they wait until the next day.  We didn't have any bread for toast, but I'm an Arizona girl, and I can't think of anything better to enjoy golden raw honey on than hot fresh Indian fry bread!

When I was little living up in the White Mountains we called them "Navajo Tacos" because they would serve the fry bread topped with beans, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes with a dollop of sour cream on top.  They would serve them in the lodge at the ski slopes we went to on the reservation.  After skiing we were always hungry enough for the taco version, but the dessert version of the fry bread with honey drizzled on top can't be beat for a sweet treat.

My mom got her recipe for fry bread from the newspaper in AZ.  Sometimes newspaper recipes can turn out the very best!  This is one of those times.  So here is my mom's Indian Fry Bread Recipe, and.  Don't forget to follow all hot oil kitchen safety rules--especially with kids around.   

Indian Fry Bread
Serves 8

4 cups flour
1 Tbl baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbl powdered milk
1 1/4 -1 1/2 cups warm water
Shortening or other frying oil

Melt shortening or other oil in a large skillet, dutch oven,  or wok.  (Should be at least 3/4 inch of oil.)  Heat to 500*F.

Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, salt and milk powder in large mixing bowl.  (You can do this by hand or with a dough hook.)  Gradually stir in warm water.  Mix until dough forms a ball and comes clean from edge of bowl.  Knead until elastic.  Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Pat into circles and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.  

Slip one dough circle into hot fat.  Turn once when underside is brown.  Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining dough.

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