What is the difference between Regular Honey
and Manuka Honey?
As you stroll down the supermarket aisle, you’ll come across that delicious, runny, sticky liquid often referred to as “regular honey” – right next to those fruity preserved jams and beefy Vegemite jars. Regular honey is made from unprocessed honey, pasturised to extend its shelf life and also filtered to remove impurities and bubbles to make the honey clear, smooth and oozing with perfection.
Having said that, unprocessed manuka honey contains amino acids, minerals, vitamins and an enzyme called glucose oxidase. When this enzyme is mixed with water, it produces hydrogen peroxide – a mild antiseptic. However, while all honey does contain anti bacterial properties, the heat process used to treat “regular honey” does interfere and reduce the overall beneficial properties.
Unlike regular honey, Manuka Honey has very little processing from the hive to the cupboard. It’s handled very carefully, tested and monitored to ensure it maintains its purity. Native to the North Island in New Zealand is the Manuka flower that naturally contains three chemical markers, namely: MGO, DHA and Leptosperin.
Three Chemical Markers
- MGO – methylglyoxal is the natural substance that comes from the manuka honey bush flower and contains antiviral and antibacterial activity.
- DHA – Dihydroxyacetone is a precursor chemical of MGO that is found in the nectar of the Leptospermum Scoparium, commonly called Manuka.
- Leptospermum Scoparium is a flowering plant in the myrtle family “Myrtaceae”, native to Australia and New Zealand.
MGO is often added to manuka honey after it has been harvested. To ensure the genuine production and sale of manuka honey, the UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating system is in place. Not all harvested honey will be at the same level of potency – this is why UMF-testing is accompanied by a number that grades its qualities; the higher the UMF number, the more potent the honey.
What level of Manuka Honey is best?
UMF: 15-20+ / MGO: 400-550
Very high antibacterial activity. Superior healing properties.
UMF: 10-15+ / MGO: 100-400
High antibacterial activity. Good healing properties.
UMF: 5-10+ / MGO:30-100
Medium level activity. Suitable for maintaining good health.
UMF: 0-5+ / MGO: 0-30
Low level activity. Comparable to regular honey.
How to cook with Manuka Honey
This luscious concoction does contain a very different chemical makeup, so it is wise to remember the “three golden rules” prior to cooking to ensure your recipe is a success.
Because this superior honey is a natural sweetner, it is much sweeter than sugar, so you will need less for your recipe – approximately 1/2 cup of honey per 1 cup of sugar.
“Three Golden Rules”
- Turn the temperature on your oven DOWN – Honey is a wonderful product for caramelisation but, it does burn much faster than sugar. It is important to reduce the temperature by at least 10 degrees when using honey.
- Reduce the Liquids in your RECIPE – Unlike sugar, honey will increase the overall liquid content, so you will need to use less liquid for your recipe. For every one cup of honey, reduce the overall liquid by 1/4 cup (water, milk etc).
- Make sure your recipe will RISE – Sometimes the acidity in the honey may cause your recipe to go flat. To rectify this, just add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for each cup of honey.