Most Commonly Asked Questions:
What is UMF and the numbers on jars of Manuka Honey?
Q. Can you eat Manuka Honey?
A. Yes. It is straight from the bee hives. Ready to put on your toast.
Q. Why does Manuka Honey change in colour and flavour?
A. Manuka Honey, as with all honeys, is a natural product direct from nature to your table .
The colour may vary according to the Manuka Shrub and where the nectar was harvested. Enviromental conditions, e.g rain, heat, drought, wind and soil types can reflect in the final honey product. The colour dosn't always determine the value of the honey, some Manuka Honeys are very light in colour and have registered a very high "UMF".
Flavour varies according to the same conditions that influence colour. Dark honeys tend to have a stronger and more bitter flavour and are more aromatic whereas light honeys are crisper and thin in flavour.
Q. Are there special bees that make the honey?
A. No it’s the shrub/flower that the nectar's are harvested from that determine the type of honey. Depending on which pollen is the dominant, will determine what the honey will be recognized as and given its common flora name.
Q. What is Manuka?
A. It is a tea tree shrub and a species unique to New Zealand. This indigenous tea tree, blossoms December through January. The bees extract nectar from the small white flower to make honey.
Q. What is UMF?
A. Unique Manuka Factor. The phrase UMF was coined by Dr Peter Molan. Manuka Honey tested under the guide lines of the Waikato Universities methods, is indicated by UMF and a number and '+' (eg. 15+) on the label.
Q. What does the '+' sign mean?
A. The '+' sign indicates the number following is the UMF or MG value.
Q. How do they test for UMF rating?
A. The raw Manuka honey is put in vats where each vat is rotated and tested for its Methylglyoxal (MG rating), DHA (dihydroxyacetone) and Leptosperin (UMF rating) and given its potential '+' grading number. E.g. 5+,10+, 15+,20+...
Q. What is creamed honey? (Imported Manuka honey is always creamed)
A. In this process, raw honey and previously processed whipped honey (known as a seed batch) are combined to produce a mixture of 10% whipped honey and 90% raw honey. The mixture is then allowed to rest at a controlled temperature of 57 °F (14 °C). This method will produce a batch of whipped honey in about one week. A seed batch can be made by allowing normal honey to crystallize and crushing the crystals to the desired size
Creamed honey too Hard? A useful tip!
Sometimes when you buy creamed honey, it is too hard to use easily. This is because most of the crystallizing has happened after the jar was filled and it has 'set' hard. If you microwave the jar (around 30 seconds on high for 500 grams) it will soften - and it stays soft.
What Is Manuka Honey?
Bees gather Manuka honey from a New Zealand Tea Tree shrub commonly known as Manuka (Leptospermum Scoparium). Of the 158 species of Tea Tree in the southern hemisphere, this species appears to be unique to New Zealand.
There has been over 30 years of continuing studies at the Waikato University with investigations into the use of Manuka Honey.
Dr Peter Molan (MBE) BSc (Hons) Wales. PhD Liv. from New Zealand's University of Waikato, from the dept. of Biological Sciences at the Waikato University of NZ, is a world authority in researching Manuka Honey.