Questions I am often asked…
What is Manuka?
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) is the plant not the bee. It is a species of flowering plant which is indigenous to NZ, is part of the tea tree family, grows wild (a little like gorse grows here) and has pretty white and red flowers during its short flowing season.
What makes it so special compared to other types of honey?
Honey has been used medicinally for many centuries and is well known for its healing properties. Manuka honey quite simply contains far higher levels of the chemical compounds, which are believed to be antibiotic and antiviral, than other types of honey.
Why is it so expensive?
The beehives have to be placed very carefully in areas of dense Manuka in order for this special monofloral (from one type of flower) honey to be produced. These sites are often in remote and inaccessible locations, requiring enormous amounts of time and skill to look after the sites and extract the honey. The flowering season is also only 2-6 weeks long, leaving only a small window in which to successfully harvest the honey . The honey has to be extracted as soon as the Manuka has finished flowering or other types of pollen will be brought into the hives. It is a labour intensive and highly skilful process.
How do I know it is real?
There is a lot of bad press about Manuka honey and ‘fakes’. The labelling is often misleading and the grading system rather complicated. The NZ government and MPI (Ministry of Primary Industries) are working hard to simplify this.
In order to be labelled Monofloral Manuka Honey, it has to be laboratory tested, packed and sealed in NZ. It is rigorously tested and each jar has a batch number printed on it. I have all the lab certificates for each batch number of Manuka Direct honey, if you would like to see the certificate for your particular jar of honey please don’t hesitate to ask.
It is extremely important to trust your source.
What is the difference between the two grades of honey?
We currently have two grades of honey, MG 83+ and MG 263+. The MGO rating relates to the level of Methylglyoxol in the honey (mg/kg) This is the major natural antibacterial component found in Manuka honey and the higher the grade the higher the antibacterial level is believed to be. They taste and look very similar.
Another well known grading measure is UMF. MG 83+ is comparable to UMF 5+ and MG 263+ is comparable to UMF 10+. See Grading System under Info for further details.
Why do we not grow Manuka here?
The vast majority of the world’s Manuka grows in New Zealand, where the specific climate and volcanic soil compound make the growing conditions superb for it to thrive.
Does it taste nice?
It is often assumed that something so good for you must taste horrible! Nothing could be further from the truth (although taste is by nature subjective!) I have yet to find a honey lover who doesn’t find it is absolutely delicious, quite distinctive and not sickly sweet.