Yes, you can save your honey-laden wash water for cooking, baking, or making lemonade.
I am one of those people who cannot waste a single calorie of food. If no one in the family will eat something—if even the cats turn away—it goes to the chickens. Now, something has to be fantastically, amazingly, immorally horrible before a chicken will refuse it, but it does happen. If the item still remains unclaimed it goes into the compost pile where something eventually eats it. The compost, of course, goes into next year’s vegetables.
I blame this personality quirk on my upbringing. I spent my “formative” years in the shadow of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains where there was a brand of fiscal conservatism unlike any other on earth. I remember my grandmother bringing home a piece of meat from the butcher. She would untie the string from the package and roll it into a ball with countless other pieces of string, and then she would wipe the butcher paper clean, dry it, and fold it up for some future purpose. The fat was cut from the meat and saved for soap. Absolutely nothing was wasted.
Saving the wash water for marmalade
So last week when I saw this posting by HB at Backyard Bee Hive Blog, it immediately captured my attention. In order to conserve the little bits of honey that stick to the wax after crushing and straining the comb, HB washes the wax and reserves the wash water to make what she calls Beekeeper’s Marmalade. What a clever idea! Not only do you save the honey, but the “honey water” adds a gentle flavor of its own.
Since I read her post I’ve thought of dozens of things I could do with honey water. I could use it when canning peaches and pears and kiwis. I could put it in aronia berry jam. I could use it when making stir-fries, baked goods, or sauces. I could freeze it into cubes and drop it into iced tea.
The fact that I never crush and strain my honeycombs and have no wax to wash is completely beside the point. If I ever do, I will certainly try all these things and a few more. Many thanks to HB for a great idea!
Honey Bee Suite