Crush and Strain Honey: The 3-Bucket Method

    WARNING: Plastic buckets from the hardware store contain BFA, a substance that is generally not good for humans. I doubt much BFA would get into the honey in this process because the honey isn’t stored in the plastic. It mostly just passes through the plastic funnels and sits in the plastic bucket for less than a day. But still, stainless steel or food-grade plastic buckets are preferable. Honey meant for public consumption should never come in contact with non-food-grade plastic.

I recently crushed and strained about 6 litres of liquid honey (about 1.6 US gallons) from a medium honey super. I followed what some called the 3-bucket method, which I’ve demonstrated before, except I didn’t do it properly the first time. This time I did it right and it worked perfectly. The process is explained with labelled photos below. Basically you pour the crushed comb honey into a bucket with holes it, which drains into a bucket with a paint strainer on it. Then you bottle your honey.

Honey with crushed comb dripping from top bucket into bucket with holes, then straining into bottom bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Honey with crushed comb dripping from top bucket (bucket #1) into a bucket with holes (bucket #2), then straining into a bottom bucket (bucket#3). (Oct. 07, 2014.)


I recommend this method for hobbyist beekeepers with a small number of hives. Comb honey is the best, but for liquid honey, crush-and-strained in my experience tastes and feels better than extracted honey. The fact that the honey strains through the beeswax, much of flavour of the wax — which is a huge component of natural honey — isn’t lost like it would be with extracted honey.

P.S. (July 25/15): I also posted a video called Cutting and Bottling Honey that’s been viewed 645,113 times as of today. Which reminds me, perhaps I should monetize my YouTube videos.)

5 gallon / 18 litre paint bucket. Cost $5. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

5 gallon / 18 litre paint bucket. Cost $5. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Paint strainer to go over bucket. $20 for a bag of strainers. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Paint strainer to go over bucket. $20 for a bag of strainers. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Paint strainer wrapped tightly over bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Paint strainer wrapped tightly over bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Paint strainer covering bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Paint strainer covering bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Bucket lid cut to create a base for second bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Bucket lid cut to create a base for second bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Cut lid placed over bucket with strainer. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Cut lid placed over bucket with strainer. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Second bucket with 3/4-inch holes drilled in the bottom. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Second bucket with holes 3/4-inch holes drilled in the bottom. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Second bucket placed over bucket with strainer. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Second bucket placed over bucket with strainer. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Bucket with strainer on bottom + cut lid / base + bucket with holes on top. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Bucket with strainer on bottom + cut lid / base + bucket with holes on top. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Two sticks on top. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Two sticks on top. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Bucket 3 full of comb honey. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Bucket 3 full of comb honey. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Potato masher. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Potato masher. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Crushed comb. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Crushed comb. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Crushed comb dumped into top bucket with holes. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Crushed comb dumped into top bucket with holes. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Honey with crushed comb dripping from top bucket into bucket with holes, then straining into bottom bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

Honey with crushed comb dripping from top bucket into bucket with holes, then straining into bottom bucket. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


A little over 6 litres of crushed comb and honey. (Oct. 07, 2014.)

A little over 6 litres of crushed comb and honey. (Oct. 07, 2014.)


Left over crushed comb the next day. (Oct. 08, 2014.)

Left over crushed comb the next day. (Oct. 08, 2014.)


6 litres of liquid honey strained into bottom bucket overnight. (Oct. 08, 2014.)

6 litres of liquid honey strained into bottom bucket overnight. (Oct. 08, 2014.)


Strained honey. (Oct. 08, 2014.)

Strained honey. (Oct. 08, 2014.)


One of many bottles of honey bottled the next day. (Oct. 08, 2014.)

One of many bottles of honey bottled the next day. (Oct. 08, 2014.)

6 thoughts on “Crush and Strain Honey: The 3-Bucket Method

  1. The last batch of honey was recently extracted, a total of about three medium honey supers. But I only got about two supers worth of honey from it because the honey was so cold that it wouldn’t flick out of the cells easily. All the honey stuck in the comb will be fed back to the bees, but for now on I’ll make sure to extract by the end of September at the latest.

    I’m buying my extractor for next year.

  2. I sell the honey at a location is St. John’s that’s posted on my Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/mudsongsbeekeeping

    Some of my honey is still available.

    I’m not sure what you mean by feeding sugar or harvesting natural. If you mean do I feed the bees sugar syrup and harvest the capped syrup like honey, the answer is no. I’ve heard of some beekeepers in the US doing that, but if the honey isn’t made from nectar, then it’s not honey. So nope, I don’t do that. Only the real deal from my hives.

    I gave my colonies dry sugar last winter as a precaution, though most of them, it turns out, didn’t need it. Most of them still had a full deep of honey by the time spring rolled around, but ate away at the dry sugar anyway. You’d think they’ prefer honey, but that’s not always the case.

    I haven’t had to feed my bees sugar syrup in the spring or fall for at least a year because I leave them enough of their own honey. I avoid giving them sugar syrup when I can, mainly because mixing up sugar syrup and carting it out to my hives is a pain in the neck.

  3. Hi there,
    Thanks for the info and photos here. Where did you buy that strainer cloth that is shaped like a hair net that fits over the bucket? The strainers that came with my bucket have ripped and I need to buy a new one.
    Thanks, Debra

  4. Those are paint strainers. I bought them at my local hardware store. They came in a bag with 5 or 6 strainers. They’re not hard to find.

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