Here’s a narrated video of us harvesting the last five foundationless frames from our hives this year. We cut out 28 small squares of honey comb from a little over 1 and a half frames. We crushed and strained the rest of it and bottled it the next day.
We meant to strain the crushed comb using the 3-bucket system that requires a paint strainer, but we put the paint strainer on the wrong bucket (the paint strainer goes on the bottom bucket), so we had to improvise a bit. That mistake cost us some honey, but it wasn’t too drastic.
P.S.: The Eating Raw Honey Comb video isn’t a bad following-up to this video.
UPDATE (Oct. 04/11): Here are some photos, starting with cutting the comb from the frame:
A close up on said honey comb:
Cutting the comb into squares:
Close up on packaged cut comb:
Most of this we’re keeping for ourselves. Little bricks of gold:
Another full comb of honey removed from a frame (we crushed and strained about 4 and a third frames):
Raw comb ready to be crushed with a potato masher:
Pouring the crushed comb into the straining bucket:
The crushed comb in the straining bucket:
We bought the paint buckets at Home Depot, by the way, for about $7 each. The funnels came from Canadian Tire in the automotive section for a couple dollars each. The 5 gallon paint strainer came from Templeton’s paint store on Water Street in St. John’s for 3 or 4 dollars. The paint strainer can be rinsed and reused. Anyway, this is where we made our mistake.
The top bucket has holes drilled in the bottom. The crushed comb should be poured directly into this bucket that sits on top of another bucket — the bottom bucket — which has a lid on top of it with a big circle cut out of the middle. That lid with the big hole cut in the middle simply provides a base for the top bucket to sit on. Anyway, the paint strainer goes inside the bottom bucket. Just make sure it doesn’t sag all the way down to the bottom of the bucket. Otherwise, it’ll just sit there in a pool of honey and not make it through the strainer, which is what happened when we put the strainer in the top bucket. We subsequently had to improvise with a stick to suspend the crushed comb so it would drain properly. We let it drain overnight:
The next day we used a simple ladle to pour the honey into funnels which then drained into our Mason jars:
About a week later when I bottled our batch of extracted honey, I poured the honey from the bucket into juice jugs (or pitchers), and then simply poured the honey from the pitchers into the jars. It was easier and less messy than the funnel method. I doubt we’ll ever do this again, anyway. Next time we’ll install a honey gate on the bucket and be done with it.