A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Making Fondant

With the onset of winter and the weather getting colder the Bees will be getting less and less active with there being less forage for them to collect. Due to this I have already started feeding my Bees to help them prepare for winter. I have already given them a heavy syrup mix which they took in next to no time and now the weather is getting colder by the day it isn't feasible to give the Bees liquid feed any more; the reason liquid feed isn't recommended is that the syrup needs to be below 20% water for them to successfully store it without it going bad and with the lower temperature it makes it harder for the Bees to lower the water content. Instead of syrup I will be now giving them fondant to eat over the coming months. I decided it would be cheaper and more fun to make my own fondant and the recipe can be found here.

Step 1: Once all sugar and water is added put on hob and continue to stir

Step 2: When it starts to boil put the lid on and boil for at least 5 minutes.
I left to boil a little longer

Step 3: Check the temperature; if over 234°F then turn heat off and allow to cool

Step 4: When temp drops to 200°F start beating
(if you have a electric whisk I would advise using it!) 

Step 5: Keep beating air into the mix and it will start to thicken,
your arm will be hurting by now if you don't have a electric whisk

Step 6: When it is really stiff it's ready to box.
I have poured it into clean take away boxes.

Once I had made the fondant I allowed it to cool overnight and the next day (last Thursday) I took it up to the hive, removed the lid of the fondant and put it where the feeder bucket was. The plastic tray is now upside down at the top of the hive allowing the Bees to eat as much as they want in the safety of the hive. I will go back next month and see if they need the other box of fondant I made. When I was at the hive I also added an entrance reducer but the Bees were getting a little defensive so will attach a mouse guard next visit. I also received my first sting while they have been in my apiary; on my hand through leather gloves!