Should You Ever Buy Pasteurized Manuka Honey?


Manuka honey from New Zealand has continued to rise above many other natural foods in terms of health benefits. This honey, made from the Leptospermum scoparium tree, is known for its antibacterial and wound-healing properties and is highly coveted; good-quality manuka honey is on the pricey side. Most of the manuka honey you see for sale is raw, but there are brands that pasteurize the honey.

Raw Versus Pasteurized Honey

First, you need to know how raw and pasteurized honey differ from each other in general. Pasteurized honey is heated to kill off any yeast in the honey and help increase the storage life of the honey. The regular clover honey you buy in stores that is not labeled as raw is pasteurized. Pasteurized honey is often filtered several times to remove all debris and particles, which is why it's so clear. Raw honey, on the other hand, is not pasteurized, and it is minimally filtered. It's filtered a little bit to ensure there's no hive or wax debris in it, but that's usually it. Raw honey has all the bee pollen, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds that honey is known for in general. Additional filtration and pasteurization remove those nutrients. So, if you want the health benefits that honey is supposed to offer, you'd want raw honey. If you just want a topping for cereal or something to dip fruit in, pasteurized honey is absolutely fine.

Why Manuka Honey Is Usually Sold as Raw

So if pasteurization and a lot of filtration remove much of the nutrition that honey has, and you want the health benefits that manuka honey carries, you definitely want raw manuka honey. Luckily, most manuka honey is sold completely raw, with no additives at all and no pasteurization. You do want to research the company you buy from and check out the "Unique Manuka Factor" (UMF) number on the label, which is an indicator of how much methylglyoxal the honey has. That is the ingredient that may be responsible for the antibacterial properties of the honey.

When Would Pasteurized Manuka Honey Ever Be Appropriate?

As with regular honey, you'd buy pasteurized manuka honey if you were interested in the taste but not concerned about getting the full health effects of the honey. What you buy should still have a UMF number on the label. You'd also buy the pasteurized version if you wanted honey that lasted longer. (Honey in general is one of those foods that lasts indefinitely, but the honey can go bad under certain circumstances.)

For more information, contact a local company, like Hokitika Honey & Herb Co.


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