Manuka Honey is quite expensive. So, you may hesitate to buy big bottles of it, lest you are unable to use it before it spoils. But, did you know that honey is one of those natural substances with an incredibly long shelf-life?
Pure honey can last for years if you store it properly. However, how long it keeps depends on the quality of the honey and how well you store it.
Then, what is the “best before” date on Manuka honey bottles?
Although honey does not really expire, most brands mention a “best before” date for their product. Manuka honey will usually last beyond this date if you store it properly.
However, you should note that the certified activity level of Manuka honey declines over time. Once the prescribed “best before” date passes, the grading of the Manuka honey may not be accurate. While it will still be consumable, the potency of the honey as indicated by the UMF, MGO, and K-factor may change.
If you are using Manuka honey for medicinal purposes, stick to the best before date. For health reasons, it is also best if you use the honey within three years of opening the jar.
How to properly store Manuka honey?
Moisture and heat are the biggest culprits that spoil Manuka honey. If you keep your honey away from them, you can extend its lifespan.
You can keep Manuka honey in the same container that it comes in if it has an airtight lid. If you transfer it to another container, make sure it has a tight seal. Furthermore, always use a dry spoon to get the honey out of the jar.
Manuka honey will keep well for a very long time if you store it in a cool, dry place at room temperature. Store it away from sunlight, heating appliances, and the stove.
There is no need to refrigerate Manuka honey. If you put it in the fridge, it will crystallize and become difficult to use.
Is crystallized Manuka honey safe for consumption?
It is normal for Manuka honey to crystallize. Crystallization happens even when honey is in the comb. Crystallized honey is safe to eat.
Now, if you do not like crystallized honey, you can fix it by placing the honey over hot water. However, take care to immediately remove the honey from heat when the granules dissolve. Overheating honey can change its texture and flavor. It will also reduce the nutritional benefits by killing heat-sensitive natural enzymes in the honey.
How to identify if Manuka honey has gone bad?
You may have noticed that the color and texture of honey changes over time. It may thicken, crystallize, or become cloudy. But these changes do not indicate that the honey is spoiled.
Honey usually goes bad when it is contaminated by moisture and microbes. Additives can also affect its lifespan. These agents can cause fermentation of the natural sugars present in Manuka honey. Spoiled honey will taste off. It will also be runny due to the water produced during fermentation. At times, spoiled honey may even look foamy. If you notice any unusual odor or a watery texture, toss it as it has probably spoiled.