Our determination is to bring to the world a Honey entirely honest in nature, by keeping it RAW without the need for secondary processing.
Subjecting Manuka to high temperatures just isn't in our thinking!
Commercially Processed Manuka Honey
Most Manuka honey produced is heated to high temperatures (66C or 150F) during production, they do this to...
- Destroy yeast spores which can cause the honey to ferment
- Melt the crystal allowing producers to reconstitute the natural formation of honey crystals as part of the creaming process
- Makes the honey easier to pour out of its storage containers in preparation for packing
The honey then undergoes a secondary creaming process where heat is applied. Unfortunately, when honey is heated to these high temperatures it destroys some of the enzymatic properties, as well the flavours and aromas of the honey. The creaming process involves melting of the natural honey crystal and the addition of fine honey crystals to ‘seed’ the honey to take on uniform consistency. Additionally, to help achieve a smooth and uniform consistency creamed honey undergoes filtration to remove any fine particles that may interfere with the ‘seeding’ process but in doing so is further removing more of the beneficial nutrients.
CRAFTING NEW ZEALANDS FINEST MANUKA
At Steens we believe nature knows best and therefore when separating off the wax, using our proprietary whole comb technology™, we maintain temperatures that occur naturally in the beehive. We control any undesirable fermentation in our honey by ensuring the moisture content of the honey is kept within very strict parameters.
This takes a lot more time and care but when dealing with one of the world’s most premium honeys, we believe it’s worth the effort!
WHAT DEFINES RAW HONEY?
Numerous research studies have shown that food enzymes are sensitive to temperatures above 118°F / 47.7°.ⁱ It is for this reason that foods cannot be called ‘raw’ where they have been exposed to anything above this temperature. But there is more to achieving a ‘raw’ status with honey! Whilst pasteurisation is all about temperature, raw is additionally about maintaining the honey as it exists in the beehive. And to achieve a raw honey one must not fine filter the honey, as this removes the nutritious bee bread, pollens, enzymes and minerals.ⁱⁱ
UNPASTURISED VS RAW HONEY
Unfortunately, not all honey brands adopt these standards and we currently have a situation where the labelling of honey can be misleading with the lines being blurred between a honey which is pasteurised, unpasteurised and raw. For example, a honey producer could process their honey at 122°F / 50°C, which can be labelled 'unpasteurised' but due to the temperature exceeding 118 °F / 47.7°C should not be classed as raw honey. Likewise, if the honey was fine filtered, regardless of temperature the honey was processed at, it should not be called raw.
HOW RAW IS YOUR HONEY?
The below thermometer features the typical Manuka honey pasteurisation and ‘creaming’ process temperatures. At Steens we are passionate about maintaining our honeys natural integrity with all its beneficial properties intact! To achieve this we only maintain temperatures that naturally occur in the beehive while minimally processing our honey. Learn more about Steens proprietary whole comb technology™ here.
BENEFITS OF STEENS RAW HONEY
Our minimal processing and low temperature technique does not denature the amino acids & enzymes in our honey which means Steens honey has:
- High Amino Acid (protein) profile
- Higher nutrient content
- Natural enzymes that aid digestion
- A thicker, slightly grainy texture as the crystals are uneven in size – just as nature intended them to be!
STEENS RAW HONEY
- Vitamins, minerals and nutrients remain intact
- Packed with enzymes and amino acids
- Thicker consistency, slightly grainy texture
- Amazing aromas and colour profile
- Contains Bee Bread
- Nutrients lost in the heating process
- Enzymes are destroyed
- Smooth, refined and creamy appearance
- Diminshed flavour profile
- Depleted of Bee Bread
- Nutrients lost in the heating process
ALL THIS BEGS THE QUESTION - WHY PASTEURISE OR EVEN HEAT HONEY?
This is a challenge we face in in the honey industry due to ‘green washing’ and lack of policing around unpasturised and raw food labelling globally.
- The origins of pasteurising foods goes back the turn of last century. It is typically used in food processing to achieve food preservation.
- Honey is pasteurised to control crystallisation and eliminate fermentation via killing yeast cells however in doing so it destroys some of the nutritional properties including enzymes.
- Studies have shown that food enzymes are damaged at temperatures over 40°C / 104°F.
- Most Manuka honeys marketed as raw honey are infact creamed honeys that have been heated several times and pasteurised at 66°C / 150°F.
- To determine if your honey has been pasteurised or raw - ask the brand what the maximum temperature their honey has been processed and has it been filtered?
1. Subramanian. R (2006) Processing of Honey: A review. International Journal of Food Properties.
2. Utah department of agriculture & food.
3. Blasa. M (2006) Raw Millefiori honey is packed full of antioxidants. Food Chemistry.
4. Dyce, E.J. 1975. Producing finely granulated or creamed honey.