January 17, 2013

Reading the Bottom Board

An increase in cappings trash from the last reading.
The little colony in the Warre hive survived a streak of below zero days and nights. Here's what their bottom board says to me:
  • Brood comb trash on the left: bees are emerging, or the bees are chewing up brood comb and preparing it for the queen to lay in. 
  • Sugar debris: the bees are still working on the fondant.
  • There are more mites than I've seen previously. The grease patty may be working or there are emerging bees with an entourage of mites.
  • It's time for Pollen Sub.

What does the bottom board say to you?


Rusty said...

Forget bees, I have a food question. My husband is away this week, so I thought, “Excellent. I will not have to cook a single meal. I will work on my website and my upcoming presentations till I can’t stand it anymore.”

So, I went to Trader Joe’s to buy some “prepared food” so I wouldn’t have to mess in the kitchen. I came home with Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Ravioli. I figured one package would last me three nights.

But when I went to cook it, the instructions told me the following: “For best results open packaging at least 4 minutes prior to cooking.”

Four minutes? What happens in four minutes? Nothing happens in four minutes.

This bothers me no end because I can’t figure it out. Did they package the ravioli in some kind of gas that they want to expel before you cook? Or is it something more mundane? It makes no sense to me and it’s driving me crazy.

The ingredients are pretty straight forward. The filling contains ricotta cheese, cream, bread crumbs, goat cheese, sundried tomato, salt, and garlic. The pasta portion contains wheat flour, whole egg, semolina, spinach, and salt.

So what requires four minutes in the open air before cooking? I’m counting on you, HB.

HB said...

@Rusty Colorado is getting it's first Trader Joe's, but I'm not sure why everyone's so excited. The one I found while in CA didn't impress me. How could they not carry Greek God's yogurt in Honey flavor?

That being said, I'm guessing the TJ ravioli were a ready-to-eat product, and that the packaging was a tray with a peel-off plastic "lid". If that's the case, a colleague of mine and I say your gas guess is right. If you ever buy food where the plastic is puffed up and tight, like a balloon, it's likely Modified Atmosphere Packaging, where the oxygen has been replaced with CO2 and/or N2.

Why four minutes? That's a weird one. The MAP gases are inert. Cryovac'ed wet-aged meat should be aired out a few minutes, but heat 'n' eat shouldn't need to breathe. Makes me wonder if the labeling isn't a product of China. Sometimes I buy food items from the Asian market, just for the funny instructions. You know the "food" isn't edible, but the packaging is too hilarious to pass up.

Rusty said...

Thanks for your answer. I didn't know about MAP but I always suspected it existed since inert gases play a large roll in produce storage. Interesting stuff.

Just for the record, the ravioli were to be boiled, not heated in the microwave, and the packaging was a plastic bag, not a microwavable tray, all of which makes the four minutes more mysterious. The package also says "product of Italy", but of course maybe the label was from China!

My husband is home now and I'm back to cooking real food . . . but I learned a lot! Thanks again.

HB said...

@Rusty Huh. That's just weird weird weird. Speaking of real food… didn't have any for my Warré so bought MegaBee Hydrid patties. I have no idea what I'm doing... hope I'm not killing my bees with kindness.

Solarbeez said...

Thanks for posting the bottom board info. I've got to learn how to read mine. Someone asked about this so I'll pass your your link onto them. Glad your hive got through the sub-freezing days. Fingers crossed that both our little Warre hives will emerge intact.

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