- What is honey?
- What is in honey?
- What is pasteurised honey and why is it pasteurised?
- What are the benefits of Active Manuka Honey?
- What is the difference between the different flavours, ie, blends vs. mono florals?
- Why New Zealand honey?
- How do bees make honey?
- Why do bees make honey?
- How many flowers does it take to produce 1 kg of honey?
- When we first bought the honey, it was clear and very runny but now it is grainy/cloudy and very hard? Is it still safe to eat?
- Can I feed honey to my baby?

What is honey?
Honey is a natural, sweet and viscous liquid, usually produced by honey bees from the nectar collected off flowers or from other living parts of a plant. Honey has been known to man for over 7,000 years and can truly be described as 'Nature's Sweetener'.

What is in honey?
Honey naturally contains about 60% reducing sugars, such as glucose and fructose and no more than 21% moisture. This is the composition of honey that has been properly ripened in the honeycombs in the beehive. New Zealand regulations prohibit the addition of any extra ingredients such as sugars or water to the pure honey. Honey also contains small amounts of vitamins such as B and C as well as minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and etc. Unpasteurised honey is also known to contain several mostly unidentified to date compounds that offer antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

What is pasteurised honey and why is it pasteurised?
Pasteurised honey is honey that has been heated to 71 deg C for 4 minutes before being cooled rapidly. Unlike the use of pasteurisation in other industries such dairy, etc., honey does not need to be heated to make it safe for consumption. The pasteurisation of honey is to delay the onset of crystallisation which can affect the appearance and possible shelf life of the honey. The heat destroys any seed crystals present in the honey. Unfortunately, it also destroys many of the health-giving properties of honey.

What are the benefits of Active Manuka honey?
The world-famous Honey Research Unit at Waikato University in New Zealand has found that Active Manuka honey has unique potency not found in other honeys. Sometimes called ‘Unique Manuka Factor’ or ‘UMF’, the compound is now known to be methylglyoxal or MGO. Medical professionals get excellent results treating wounds resistant to other conventional treatment such as antibiotics with Active Manuka honey with activity rating from 12 to 18, which can be twice as effective against E.coli and Enterococci (infection agents) and many times more effective against Helicobacter pylori (peptic ulcers).

What is the difference between the different flavours, ie, blends vs. mono florals?
Just as different flowers smell and look different, so will the honey that is derived from different plants differ from each other in terms of aroma, taste and colour. A honey that is made from the nectar of mainly one type of plant is also known as mono-floral, i.e. from one flower and there are many examples of these such as clover, NZ manuka, etc. Honeys that have come from the nectar of many flowers are known as blends and can also be seen described as wildflower blends.

Why New Zealand honey?
New Zealand is world-renowned for its clean and pristine environment and huge tracts of native forest still abound, particularly in the south island. Several indigenous plants provide for honey of exquisite flavour and quality and recent discoveries have brought varietals such as Manuka to the international front due to superb health and functional properties. As the New Zealand economy is heavily dependent on food exports, the country has a strong focus on food safety and innovation and is committed to ensuring that the quality of its produce exceeds general international standards. Importantly, New Zealand has a long history of beekeeping and honey production and an enviable international reputation for the quality and consistency of supply.

How do bees make honey?
Bees collect nectar in a special 'honey stomach'. It can take visits to between 100 - 1500 flowers in order to fill this specialised organ and the bee may travel up to 2 km. The bee then returns to the hive, where the other bees help it to regurgitate the nectar and in the process it is mixed with saliva containing enzymes that help to convert the nectar into unripe honey. Unripe honey has a high concentration of water which will lead to fermentation and honey spoilage so it has to be concentrated or ripened. The loss of water occurs from the strong draft from the bees wings as they fan the honey in the uncapped cells. When the honey is sufficiently dried or concentrated, the bees seal the honey in the cell with a layer of wax. The honey is then considered ready for harvest.

Why do bees make honey?
Honey is a food source for bees when the weather turns cold and/or when there is little food around the hives.

How many flowers does it take to produce 1 kg of honey?
4 million flowers, 150,000 km and 74,000 loads of honey

When we first bought the honey, it was clear and very runny but now it is grainy/cloudy and very hard? Is it still safe to eat?
Yes, the honey is perfectly safe to eat. Honey can crystallise after a long period of storage or when stored at cold temperatures. The crystals affect the texture and appearance of the honey only but not the flavour or the health-giving properties. Place the jar in a bowl of hot water and the crystals will melt and return the honey to its original appearance.

Can I feed honey to my baby?
Honey is not recommended for infants under the age of one. This is because honey can possibly contain bacterial spores that produce Clostridium botulinum bacteria and when ingested by infants can lead to infant botulism, a rare but extremely severe form of food poisoning. Older children have immune systems that are better able to cope with possible spores and do not have issues with consuming honey. Clostridium spores may also be found in a number of other foods or even in soil and household dust.