Friday, October 30, 2015

The "Churning" of Divine Nectar (Bee-hind the scenes at Shree Peetha Nilaya's honey headquarters!)

The bee is little among such as fly; but her fruit is the chief of sweet things.
(11:3, The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach)

Bees are the only insects in the world that produces food suitable for humans. Honey, is a delicious and nutritious supplement to our diet, but how does the nectar of a flower transform into honey? Here at Shree Peetha Nilaya, we have a small apiary that produces rich honeycombs consisting of a savory-sweet taste. Today we will show you the entire process we perform to create the perfect honey.

The beginning of honey production starts with the nectar found in nature. Honey is created from the nectar found in melliferous plants, such as flowers, trees and shrubs. During the spring, the first honey plants awaken and bloom, and the bees get busy with work. For this purpose, we plant a lot of flowers that have this source of nectar.

The bee itself has to search for the flower and nectar sources, retrieve the honey, and then fly back to the hive to drop off the package.

The processing of the nectar into honey consists of the evaporation of water excess, decomposition of sugar (sucrose) into simple sugars (glucose and fructose), giving the honey an acid reaction. And when honey is "ripe", i.e. the amount of moisture it has becomes less than 21%, bees seal the cells with honey by wax caps. Such honey is called ripe, and it is ready for use.

After this step is when we come in.

Carefully, we take out the frames with honey from the hive. But not all the frames can be taken away at first. Normally, if a third or more honeycombs are sealed, then the honey is ready. That’s why some of the frames are brought back into the hives for finishing.

We guide the bees back into the hive with a brush, and put the full frames into a special box. We replace the previous full frames with empty ones, since the season of honey collection continues and the bees stay active with their work.

Then, we move to a special room where the honey is pumped from the honeycombs. This is done with the usage of honey extractors and a special centrifuge, where we place the frames to be rotated.

At this point, the honey is still closed with the wax caps. So that the honey can flow during the rotation, we melt the caps with hot air in a special fixture for releasing honey cells. And here comes the "clean" frame.

Clean frames are put into the honey extractor, which can hold up to 20 frames at a time. Push the button and the rotation starts.

Due to the centrifugal force, honey is pushed from the cells and it travels down by the walls into a special section. And then, the magic begins! The crane opens and the honey flows endlessly! Well, not endlessly, but quite a lot comes out. The honey is also simultaneously filtered through a sieve to avoid getting wax into the final product.

The final step is to place the honey into jars. Once the honey is in the jars, the only thing left to do is enjoy! At Shree Peetha Nilaya, we use our honey for both our meals, as well as our prayers. The honey is offered during rituals like yagnas, abishekams, and pujas. The honey is like a good medicine, as it has received all the healing power of nature.

If you would like to purchase the honey made here, we offer the honey in individual jars at the Bhajan cafe during holidays and Darshans.