As the summer of 2023 comes to an end, our beekeepers, Khalil and Salma, explain below how they extract the honey from the beehives. But first, here’s a short video they made showing a frame full of honey, then frames spinning in the extractor, and finally freshly extracted honey filling a jar:

We are often asked how we get the honey from the beehive frames to the jars. The process is not as complex as it may appear, but requires a number of steps and quite a bit of time.

The first step is to check the honey is ready to extract (see first part of video clip above). We do this by regularly checking the frames where the bees store honey. The bees start working in spring as soon as it’s warm, then it takes them months of collection and processing before the honey is ready.

This year the bees started working from the end of February, and the first honey was ready in July.
Once the bees have processed the nectar and reduced the water content of the honey to less than 20%, they add a wax capping to the honey, in affect sealing the ready honey for later use.

As long as the bees have enough honey for themselves, we can at this stage remove some of the excess honey. We do this by gently shaking and brushing the bees off the frames, storing them in a bee proof box and taking the ready boxes away to extract.

There are many ways of extracting the honey. We prefer to use a simple uncapping fork, to remove the thin layer of wax the bees have added, exposing the beautiful liquid honey.

This is a gentle method which keeps the frames fully intact, allowing us to reuse the frames in subsequent years.

The frames are then placed into a honey extractor. By spinning the frames (see video clip above), the honey flows out and collects at the bottom of the extractor.

At the base of the extractor, there’s a small tap which allows all the honey collected to pour out.

Small bits of wax come out with the honey during the extraction process, but are removed by passing the honey through a coarse sieve.

The clear, raw honey pours into the waiting jar.

This process ensures the honey is kept as pure as possible; it is not heated added, and no goodness removed.

Pure honey has a number of very beneficial properties, including vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars.

Honey can stay almost indefinitely in the sealed jars without going bad. The two main natural sugars in nectar are glucose and fructose; over time, these bind to form crystals causing the honey to change from a liquid state to a semi liquid or almost solid stage (crystalised). This happens sooner in raw, unheated honey, but the honey is still fresh and good!

Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), 2023 has been a good year for the beehives in the London Muslim Centre and Maryam Centre, once again provided us with a good amount of honey.