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Our Honey Expert

Biohoney Manager and honey enthusiast, Terry Bone has been involved in selecting, purchasing and packing honey for many years. During this time Terry has sampled and purchased many varieties of New Zealand honey and built a high level of knowledge in this field. Terry is frequently called upon to assess the quality or value honey.

What do you look for when selecting a honey?

When selecting a monofloral honey such as manuka honey, there are specific characteristics which indicate its quality or purity. First, check the honey’s physical aspects – aroma, colour and then move onto taste. Manuka honey for example has a damp earth, heather aroma and is dark cream to medium brown in colour. Its flavour is strong, woody and distinctive with a slightly bitter aftertaste. In a liquid state manuka honey is uniquely thixotropic, which gives the honey a jelly-like appearance.

A pollen test is also a useful aid in evaluation of the purity of honey. When bees collect nectar they also gather pollen – which sticks to the hairs on a bee’s body. Inadvertantly, some of this pollen is mixed with the honey. As pollen has its own unique physical appearance, the percentage of pollen from each species of flower can be identified when viewed under microscope. A good manuka honey for example will have approximately 70% or more manuka pollen.

In February 2018, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) introduced a new testing standard to classify what is manuka honey and a manuka blend. The MPI tests include a measure of 4 x chemical markers and a DNA test. Although this testing is only required for honey that is to be exported, Biohoney tests all of its honey to this standard.

The reliance on the honeybee

The importance of the honey bee to the survival of life on earth can not be underestimated. Honey bees are thought to be responsible for the pollination of approximately 70% of the food we eat.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Albert Einstein

Ask our honey expert a question?

Do you have a question about honey that you’d like answered? Email Terry and he will answer it for you here.

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