- Honey doesn’t expire, but there is a reason why our Manuka honey jars include an expiration date. As your honey sits on the shelf, its MGO levels will slowly deplete.
- To extend your raw honey’s shelf life, store it in a cool, dry, and dark environment. Ensure that the temperature is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crystallization and hardening are normal for raw honey. To soften Manuka honey, you can use a warm water bath.
- To thicken runny honey, you can store it in the refrigerator overnight.
You want to keep your honey sound as long as possible, and the way you store it can affect its shelf life. Honey never truly expires; it may change in color or consistency over time, but it should be safe to enjoy unless exposed to moisture or sunlight.
With Manuka honey being so rich in antioxidants and other natural beneficial properties, the time frame in which you consume your honey can affect its potency.
Manuka honey’s MGO, leptosperin, and prebiotic levels can naturally decline over time. These indicators used by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) determine not only your honey’s potency, but also its authenticity.
This testing process ensures that each Manukora Manuka honey batch has all the necessary levels of these active ingredients to produce the best results.
How Long Does Manuka Honey Last?
As stated above, honey doesn’t expire, but there is a reason why each Manuka honey product has an expiration date. As your honey sits on the shelf, its MGO levels will slowly deplete.
Methylglyoxal (MGO) is one active ingredient that makes Manuka honey like no other. This naturally occurring compound offers antibacterial properties that contribute to Manuka’s ability to support immune health, digestive health, and general wellness.
You can expect your Manuka honey’s beneficial compounds to maintain (or increase) during its five-year shelf life. After the five years, we cannot guarantee the same levels. But with this honey's thick, creamy taste, we don’t see you taking five years to finish a jar!
Even after your honey’s best-by date, you can still enjoy this sweet treat, but it may not be as beneficially potent as when you first bought it.
Raw Manuka vs. Processed Honey
When it comes to processed filtered honey, it is best to store it in the pantry. Since processed honey is heat-treated (pasteurized) and has a fairly uniform color and consistency, it will generally remain the same as when you bought it as long as it’s stored in fairly neutral conditions.
While not having to heat or cool your honey before enjoying it may be preferable, the filtering and pasteurizing process can result in the loss of some of honey’s most powerful properties that make raw honey the superfood it is.
This is why at Manukora, we ensure all of our honey is natural, raw, and unpasteurized, helping to elevate the Manuka honey experience, one ethically-kept batch of honey at a time.
How Do I Store My Manuka Honey?
While your honey should never spoil, that’s not to say there aren’t right and wrong ways to store your beloved nectar. Honey is generally very easy to store, but when it comes to Manuka honey, the storage protocol is just slightly different than your average store-bought honey.
Manukora’s Manuka honey is raw. Unlike other types of honey, our Manuka may change in consistency over time as it sits, with a tendency to harden (aka crystallize). Don't be alarmed if your honey contains tiny crystal-like molecules — it’s easy to soften hardened honey, and we even have an easy guide on how to do so here!
Do: Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
Similar to time’s effect on your honey’s beneficial compounds, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can also reduce the potency of MGO’s antibacterial effects.
Storing your Manuka honey in an area free of direct sunlight is crucial to maintaining its integrity.
Don’t: Store in a Metal Container
Usually, there’s no need to transport your honey from its original container to another, but if you do, avoid storing it in metal as the honey's acids can promote oxidation.
Do: Store in a Dry Environment
Honey does best when stored in a cool, dry environment. One of the only ways honey can spoil (or even ferment) is through exposure to moisture. The fermentation of honey occurs when microscopic yeast finds enough moisture to grow.
Luckily at Manukora, we allow our bees plenty of time to naturally dehydrate their honey before we collect it. We don’t use high-heat processing to dehydrate our honey because our bees do a wonderful job of it on their own.
Fermentation is rarely an issue if your Manuka honey is stored in a dry environment.
Don’t: Store in the Freezer
Since Manuka honey is raw, the temperature of its environment can affect its consistency; this isn’t a bad thing and can be fixed with a simple warm water bath or some time in the fridge.
However, even if your Manuka is thin or runny, avoid storing it in the freezer. Manuka honey is unpasteurized, so when exposed to super low temperatures, it can become solid and will need some serious warming before you can enjoy it.
Storing this creamy, velvety nectar in the freezer won’t affect its potency like heating it will, but it can make it a hassle to get to when you’re in the mood to indulge.
Do: Store at Approximately 68 Degrees Fahrenheit
Manuka honey has a sweet spot when it comes to ideal storage temperature — 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). If Manuka honey is stored below room temperature, you can expect its already natural thick texture to become even more viscous.
Will Raw Manuka Honey Harden Over Time?
Yes, you can expect your Manuka honey to change in color and consistency; it’s completely normal and inevitable when choosing raw honey varieties. The consistency of Manuka honey has much to do with its (minimal) production process and the type of honey it is.
That said, even though crystallization is often a sign of raw, high-antioxidant honey, that thickness can be an obstacle or even just an unwelcome texture for some people, even though the quality of the honey has not been affected with the texture change.
How To Soften Hardened Honey
If you’re craving a spoonful of Manuka honey, but it's rock solid, don’t fret; we’re here to get your honey back to its original velvety state.
First, heat a small bowl of water, but don’t get the water too hot. Usually, about 45 seconds in the microwave for your standard one-person soup or cereal bowl offers plenty of heat.
Raw Manuka honey (and really, any raw honey) is ultra-sensitive to heat, and if it’s brought to a high temperature, it can essentially start to pasteurize and lose some of its beneficial properties.
Loosen the lid and place your jar in the warm water bath, ensuring not to get any of that water inside of the actual jar. Leave the jar in the warm water for around five to 10 minutes. After the first five minutes, you can give it a good stir — if it's reached your desired texture, then it's ready to enjoy! Otherwise, feel free to give it another five minutes in its bath.
How Do I Harden Runny Manuka Honey?
Looking to enjoy your honey spread over toast or simply straight from the spoon? That can be hard if your once thick, creamy honey is a little runnier than you prefer.
It’s natural for raw honey to change consistency, and just because it's a little runnier today doesn’t mean it’ll never be thick and creamy again. Chances are it's just a little too toasty in your house, and your honey needs to cool off in the fridge.
Place your Manuka honey in the fridge overnight. It should regain that buttery texture in no time.
The Bottom Line
As long as your raw Manuka honey is kept in a dry environment at room temperature away from direct sunlight, your honey should remain deliciously ready to eat for years to come (if it lasts that long!).
While the sight of crystalized or hardened honey can be alarming to honey newcomers, it’s no issue at all, and just requires a few minutes in a warm water bath.
Looking for more tips and info on all things honey? Explore Manukora’s blog here.
Ready to try Manuka honey for yourself? Explore Manukora’s collection of Manuka honey varieties here.
The Benefits of Honey + How to Incorporate It Into Your Diet | ClevelandClinic
Does Honey Go Bad? | Mississippi State University Extension Service | mmstate