Humans have gathered and consumed honey since ancient times (8000 years ago), according to a Mesolithic rock painting in Valencia, Spain.
It’s a versatile ingredient, and do you know there are several varieties, with manuka honey being one of them.
Honey is delicious, and you can consume it and use it in many different ways.
But what about the varieties? What does manuka honey taste like? Is it any different from regular honey, or it’s something special?
We’re curious as you, so don’t look further because we will try to learn many interesting facts about manuka honey, including its taste and uses.
What is Manuka Honey?
Bees pollinate different types of flowers around the world.
The color, density, taste, and composition depend on the flowers that the bees pollinate.
Manuka honey is the variety that bees produce after pollinating Leptospermum scoparium, a flowering tree that is indigenous to New Zealand and some parts of Australia.
The term ‘manuka’ is from the Maori dialect, and the honey is called manuka honey since the flowering tree also goes by the name manuka myrtle.
This variety of honey differs from regular honey in color as it’s pretty dark.
It’s usually dark brown or dark amber and contains more nutrients than the light-colored honey varieties.
It’s used as a food and healing medicine, and you can also find it in beauty products and ointments.
New Zealand and Australia are the primary producers and exporters of manuka honey.
There is high demand but limited production for the honey, and therefore it’s rather expensive, and it’s not readily available in all the stores.
What Does Manuka Honey Taste Like?
So, what makes manuka honey so unique, and what is its flavor? The main reason for this honey variety being held in such high regard is Methylglyoxal, or MGO, the key antibacterial compound.
It’s present in other honey, too, but the quantity is much higher in manuka honey.
The flavor of this honey variety is said to be earthy, pungent, slightly bitter, and oily.
In some cases, you may also get a slight hint of a mineral taste.
Manuka honey may taste more intense than light-colored honey, which usually tastes milder.
Dark honey, including manuka honey, is more viscous than lighter honey as they contain less water than the latter.
Hence, even a small quantity can be enough when using it in place of light honey.
One teaspoon of manuka honey gives 33 kcal/137KJ, 8.4g carbs, and 8.2g sugar.
It also offers several nutrients, including iron, calcium, amino acids, B-vitamins, potassium, zinc, copper, magnesium, and sodium.
It may also provide several health benefits and can be useful for improving gut health, wound healing, soothing sore throats, and dental health.
It may also help treat acne and some types of ulcers and relieve some symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
How to Cook and Use Manuka Honey?
Manuka honey has fructose, a type of sugar that is sweeter than sucrose (table sugar).
So, honey is a natural sweetener that you can use in place of sugar anytime.
But since it’s sweeter, reduce the quantity when replacing sugar to get the right flavor.
You can also use manuka honey in any recipe that calls for honey but adjust the quantity or taste before you add a large portion.
Else, your dish can become oversweet.
Roasted root veggies taste amazing when you coat them with manuka honey before placing them in the oven.
You can try this with other ingredients, too, if you like some hint of sweetness in your food.
When making smoothies or milkshakes, using manuka honey can be more beneficial than using regular sugar.
You need only a tiny amount and still get a great flavor and plenty of nutrients.
Add a little honey to your morning porridge or a fruit salad and make your meal more enjoyable.
You can add it to pancakes and muffins and spread it on bread.
For a refreshing taste, pour and stir it into lemonade, tea, and other homemade summer fruit drinks.
When buying manuka honey, look for the UMFTM mark on the label.
It stands for Unique Manuka Factor, a standard trademark given to New Zealand’s legit apiarists, manufacturers, and exporters of natural manuka honey.
Manuka honey is a top-tier variety much in demand but not easily found.
It’s also costly, so it may not be a suitable choice for everyone.
However, you can buy a few bottles at times and use the honey for various purposes.
It has a unique taste but can replace any other honey and even sugar.
So, keeping some at home can be handy.
Since it’s sweeter, thicker, and packed with nutrients, using a small amount will be sufficient.
However, some people allergic to bees may suffer an allergic reaction.
Those with high blood sugar levels may also notice a spike if they consume large quantities.
So, you have to keep these aspects in mind and take marginal amounts to enjoy its taste and also maintain a balance.