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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Honey vs. Apple Butter

On the bee forums on the Internet (Beemaster, Beesource) the general belief is that it is less messy to extract honey than to do crush and strain. Every beekeeper has a different opinion about everything beekeeping, so here's mine.

I did extracting at the Folk School in a beekeeping class I took, and it was incredibly messy. When we were finished, there were so many items to clean, not to mention the floor, table tops, etc. When I use crush and strain to harvest honey, I put cardboard under everything and the clean-up is minimal....the filters, the bucket, the pan into which I cut the comb, the pestle, the knife, and the rubber spatula. I do mop the floor but I don't experience honey everywhere.

Yesterday I made apple butter - 16 pints, but one broke in the water bath. I do this every year from the delicious apples I buy in the N Georgia mountains. I have never had such a messy experience. Apple butter is everywhere in my kitchen. And I've washed pots and pans, wiped the counters, cleaned the stovetop. What a mess and this morning I still have to clean the stovetop yet again because I was too tired to do it before I went to bed!

The apple butter is delicious, but so, so, so much messier a process than any day of harvesting honey.


  1. Anonymous7:18 PM

    Would you please post your apple butter recipe? I look forward to your ever informative blogging. Keep up the great work.

  2. Apple Butter Recipe

    4 - 5 lb. cooking apples - like Winesap, Stayman, Arkansas Black I always use several varieties in one recipe because it tastes better with the variation in flavor
    1 1/2 quarts apple cider
    Sugar to taste - 2 - 3 cups
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    1 tsp Allspice
    1 tsp Cloves
    1/4 tsp nutmeg

    Wash and slice apples but do NOT peel or core. Put apples in large pan and add cider. Cook until soft - 20 - 30 minutes. Press soft apples and cider through a food mill. Discard the solids that are left in the food mill(peel, seeds). Add to apple puree the sugar and spices. Spread spiced puree in a roasting pan and roast in 250 degree oven for hours - about 6, stirring about once an hour to keep a skim from forming on the top. When apple butter is the thickness you desire, bottle it in hot canning jars. You can turn the oven off and come back to it as long as you finish within 24 hours. Process the sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes (once water has returned to boiling). This makes GREAT apple butter.

  3. Anonymous3:37 PM


    I have done both types of extraction, using my hand crank extractor and using the crush and strain method.

    Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the crush and strain is much less time consuming and cleaner. I would like to use this crush and strain method all the time, but want to preserve some of the wax combs to place back in the hive. I guess I will just continue to do both.

    For a few frames, the crush and strain, for a whole super, then the extractor comes out.

    I continue to admire your work and all the wonderful sharing you do to help beekeepers.

    Annette from Placerville California

  4. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I've been going back anr re-reading your old posts. Wanted to tell you that when I make applebutter I cook the apples overnite in my crockpot to soften them and make the cooking time less when I am canning. I use white wine to cook them overnite, but I am sure you could use water.

    Just a thought.


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