With Pancake Day rapidly approaching, why not make this fun day extra special with a jar of manuka honey? Few natural products have captured the public’s imagination in recent years as much as the ever fascinating and distinctly delicious delights of manuka honey.
The taste of manuka honey is unique in its complexity and variety, and your taste buds may experience a sweet fudge-like taste or a strong mouth-watering almost bittersweet taste of herbs and toffee. A generous dollop or two of manuka honey can turn your pancakes into a mouth-watering sensation.
Manuka honey costs more
It is not only the taste that makes manuka honey unique but many honey lovers know about its well-researched reputation as having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This is why manuka honey costs more and a honey with a high antibacterial level will definitely set you back a bit, or even a lot more than other varieties of honey.
Is UMF manuka honey the only genuine manuka honey?
Many among the manuka honey eating public know about the UMF label. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor and the label has rightly come to be understood as a mark of confidence in the honey. Manuka honey producers that have signed up to the UMF trademark must have their honey tested and verified. Some of the biggest names in manuka honey, such as Comvita, are members of the scheme.
What about manuka honey without the UMF label?
However, the UMF label is only part of the manuka honey story and not all producers of genuine manuka honey are members of the trademark. This has been one of the reasons why it is easy to be confused about manuka honey and why there are different grading and labelling systems.
Some of the other larger brands of high quality manuka honey, such as Watson & Son and Steens, use the same testing methods as those used by UMF honey but use the abbreviation NPA, which stands for non-peroxide activity and is the more technical term for the honey’s antibacterial effect.
There is another set of letters that lovers of genuine manuka honey can look out for: MGO. There is another trademark called MGO Manuka Honey, and this is based on measuring the MGO level in manuka honey (MGO stands for methylglyoxal).
Scientists have discovered that MGO (methylglyoxal) has to be found in the honey for it to have an antibacterial activity. The MGO level is soon going to appear on all genuine manuka honeys even UMF manuka honey because of changes demanded by the New Zealand government to try and clamp down on fake labelling.
Tips for choosing
Remember that the price of manuka honey goes up the higher its antibacterial level, so if you just want to try it and are not interested in its antibacterial effect then go for one with a lower antibacterial level. Conversely, if you are interested in its special properties then go for a higher antibacterial level and look for labels and terms like UMF, NPA (non-peroxide activity) or MGO level (ranges from 30+ to 800+).