I had the great opportunity to spend the month of February traveling the North and South Islands of New Zealand. I was able to visit several Manuka honey shops and bee yards, mostly on the North Island. However, it was not quite harvest time, and I was not able to see the Manuka flowers in bloom. I found tasting and learning about Manuka Honey most interesting.  Manuka honey’s healing properties are different from the honeybees here in Vermont. I have to admit my honey tastes better. Manuka honey has a distinctive strong taste, with a slightly bitter finish.

The healing properties differ in that the Leptospermum Scoparium plant, otherwise known as… Manuka shrub or small tree has a white or pink 5 petal flower. Manuka honey has a natural antibacterial component called Methylglyoxal along with a list of natural nutrients. Amino acids, B vitamins, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc to name a few.  Manuka Honey has a higher level of enzymes than regular honey. These particular enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an antibacterial. In addition, Manuka honey also has Methylglyoxal and Dihydroxyacetone.

Most honey from North American has similar enzymes and antibacterial properties to help provide a protective barrier because of its viscosity. Honey from North America may not be as effective as Manuka honey, but it definitely tastes better!

One day, while motoring around Kiri Kiri on the North Island, we happened to drive by what appeared

to be an absolutely enormous beehive. We made an immediate u-turn to investigate.  It turned out to be a honey products store, with a 6 x12 foot hive which you could actually enter (for a fee, of course). As I gazed in wonder, the first sensation I felt inside was the heat being generated by the hundreds of thousands of bees!