Why is my honey hard? Why is my honey runny?
Your funny honey questions explained.
A common question we get asked is, “Why is my Mānuka honey hard, and not runny like I expected?”.
There are a few reasons your Mānuka honey is thick or hard::
Read on to find out more.
Mānuka honey is naturally thick
Many people associate hard Mānuka honey with being poor quality, or even spoiled. The good news is that this isn’t the case. Mānuka honey naturally has a thixotropic texture, meaning a very thick or viscous texture. It is a true product from nature and this means there will always be variances in texture. Mānuka honey naturally comes in different strengths (or potencies) which can affect its consistency too. It has a unique chemical compound called methylglyoxal (MGO) which directly relates to how potent the honey is. The potency of Mānuka honey refers to the strength of the antibacterial qualities it contains. Honey that is higher in levels of MGO tends to naturally have a thicker texture (thixotropic). The higher concentration also results in a darker colour and richer taste.
Mānuka honey comes in different strengths of MGO. The lower strengths of MGO (left) tend to be thicker while the higher strengths tend to be runnier (right).
Raw vs processed Mānuka honey
Variation in Mānuka honey consistency is also a reflection of the way the honey has been produced. Manuka honey retains it’s healing properties from being a ‘raw’ honey. This means that we retain almost all of the naturally occuring beneficial properties of the honey rather than filtering them out. To achieve this, we gently warm the honey to a degree that allows us to strain the larger wax or pollen particles. The temperature used to warm the honey is so low that none of the beneficial properties are damaged. Once the honey is cooled we then very gently stir and aerate the Mānuka honey to ‘cream’ it. This allows us to achieve only a very fine degree of crystallisation, not viewable to the human eye or palate, while still retaining all the benefits that Mānuka offers. Typically, very clear and runny honey (the type you might find in the squeezy bottles), is heavily processed. This kind of honey is more likely to lack the goodness that raw Mānuka honey has. As honey is a product of nature, every batch of Mānuka honey produced can differ in its consistency, so some Mānuka honey batches turn out slightly runnier and some turn out more viscous or thicker.
A common mistake is to store your Mānuka honey in the fridge. Yes, it will keep the ants away, but it can cause the honey to become solid and make it rather hard to get out of the jar. To ensure a smoother consistency that is easier to get out and enjoy, Mānuka honey is better stored at room temperature - in the pantry or on the bench - and out of direct sunlight. The ideal temperature to store your Mānuka honey is around 68 degrees fahrenheit (or 20 degrees celsius). In winter, our homes can get a little cooler, so you might want to try placing it in the hot water cupboard (if you have one).
Your honey won’t spoil if it is not stored in the fridge and you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy your Manukora Mānuka Honey - we put a best before date of 5 years from production, although it lasts much longer than this.
How do I fix my hard Mānuka honey?
If your honey has become firm or if it was stored in the fridge, firstly, don't put it straight in the microwave! This can reduce some of the beneficial health properties it contains and it can burn the honey. Instead, stand it in a bowl of warm (not boiling) water, until it returns to a more fluid state. Give it a good stir.
Hopefully, we’ve answered a few of your burning questions on honey consistencies, hard honey and other ums and ahs. If you need further advice to keep your honey happy, please get in touch with our helpful team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.