I harvested honey for the first time this past summer. Only two hives and it wasn't a great summer for anyone in my area. Just under 50 pounds between the two hives. I had about 50% foundationless frames in the honey supers and 50% with foundation.
I crushed and strained most of the foundationless comb. Low tech operation in my kitchen. No heating. A paint strainer for a filter. The honey was cloudy in the bottles at first and then became clear in about week. Here's a video and photos if you're interested:
The frames with foundation were extracted in a professional beekepers large extractor --- and that honey came out cloudy and stayed cloudy. Here are some photos of that if you're interested:
The flavour and texture of the extracted honey is fine, but I'm just curious why it turned out cloudy. Any guesses?
Here's what I can tell you about the extraction process:
1) The cloudy honey was capped at the same time as the clear honey, so there's no big difference in the floral sources of my honey.
2) The extractor looked sanitary, but I learned afterwards that it is cleaned only once a year.
3) Another novice beekeeper used the extractor just before me. Several of his frames were not fully capped. Some sides of the frames were not capped at all. He said he shook out the excess liquid from the cells, but still, I suspect much of his honey wasn't fully cured.
4) Also, the honey on his frames was goldenrod honey. The colour and texture of the combs was completely different from mine (the flavour was more pungent too). I extracted my honey about 10 minutes after him.
My uneducated guesses go something like this: My honey was cloudy (and stayed cloudy) because it got mixed with under-ripened goldenrod honey. Or it picked up particulates from the rarely-cleaned extractor that made it cloudy.
I'm not bothered by the cloudiness. The honey still tastes great (even with a hint of goldenrod in a few bottles). But whereas my crushed and strained honey is clear as apple juice, the extracted honey is opaque and shows no signs ever clearing up.