To mark my half century of daily photos, here are a few all at once. My landlord lives below me and keeps bees in the back garden. I've never seen honey collected before and even got a free sample fresh from the hive!
The bees are taken out of the hive section with all the sweet goodness in. Some slackers may still be in there.
A tray is removed at a time and the propolis taken off for later. I got to try a bit. It's basically bee chewing gum.
The trays have cells of honey on either side. Carefully using a comb-like device you have to scrape the tops off each side. The tops are sealed with a wax that is different to other parts of the honey comb.
As the hives are urban, the honey could come from a variety of sources. Perhaps depending on what is in at the time, weather or other bee factors, the honey can change colour and isn't as standardised as honey bought from farms.
Three trays are then put into a drum and balanced as well as possible to avoid having the weight off centre.
The drum is spun carefully so that the honey is thrown out of the cells by centrifugal force. Too much force would cause the honeycomb to break so it is done very carefully. As the trays are recycled the less damage the better and the older the honeycomb in the tray, the stronger it is. After a good spin for a minute or so, the trays are turned round to get the honey from the other side. The trays are spun and turned a couple of times.
There might be bits of honeycomb, wax, or bee bits in the honey so the honey is filtered twice as it comes out of the drum.
For all the spinning and honey that comes out of the trays, waiting for the first drop of honey to come out is an agonisingly slow eternity!
The honey is good to eat right there and doesn't need any cooking, pasteurisation or other methods to keep although I expect the honey jars are well cleaned. It can be kept in storage happily for a year but leave it for longer and it may start to crystallise. However, that is just a cosmetic issue and still perfectly edible. I found out recently that babies younger than 1 shouldn't eat honey because of the possibility of a bacterial infection.