- Filtered honey is honey that has had the honeycomb, wax, and other pieces removed.
- Ultrafiltration involves adding water to thin the honey out, filtering it through intense pressure, and removing the water to thicken the honey again.
- Manukora honey is delicately strained to remove impurities, but it still retains its raw beneficial nutrients, including MGO, Leptosperin, and prebiotics.
Discovering the Difference Between Filtered vs Unfiltered Honey
From honey in tea to honey-and-peanut-butter sandwiches, this golden nectar is a staple in many individuals' lifestyles. In fact, many people see honey as a healthier alternative to sugar or artificial sweeteners, and yes, there's some serious truth to this! Some types of honey, like Manuka honey, are home to beneficial nutrients that support immunity, digestion, and overall wellness.
Yet, maybe you've heard a bit of buzzing about unfiltered and filtered honey. So, what's the difference? The two have many distinctions, but the main difference is the nutrients within the final honey product.
So, let's explore what this means in more detail. Is one type of honey better than the other?
Understanding Unfiltered Honey: What is Raw Unfiltered Honey?
Unfiltered honey is honey that still includes wax, pollen, and other particles that naturally get into the honey during the honey-making process.
Unfiltered honey is generally unpasteurized or raw. However, it can also be strained and still be considered unfiltered. This is because straining will remove large particles from the honey, such as some bee parts, but is not as involved as the actual filtering process.
Filtered Honey Explained: Is Filtered Honey Any Good?
Filtered honey is essentially honey that has had the honeycomb, wax, and other bits and pieces removed. This (along with high-heat processing) gives filtered honey its consistent and semi-crystal-clear look.
Honey sold in the grocery store (and even at some farmer's markets) is usually filtered and often highly processed. While filtered honey may look clean, crisp, and uniform, many of honey’s nutrients are diminished during processing. In other words, this may not be a worthy tradeoff if you look to honey as more than just a sweetener.
The best thing you can do is pay attention to the labels on your honey before you buy. Even if honey is labeled organic, that doesn’t mean it's raw or unfiltered. If the honey in your pantry has been filtered and pasteurized, it may, unfortunately, not be as beneficial as advertised.
The Process Behind Filtering Honey: How is Honey Filtered?
Honey can be filtered in a few different ways, but many commercial honey makers use a process called ultrafiltration. This process involves adding water to the honey to thin it out, filtering the thin honey through intense pressure, and then removing the water to thicken the honey again.
Filtered honey can also undergo an intense heating and cooling process called pasteurization. These rapid temperature changes are meant to dehydrate the honey and extend its shelf life. If there’s any water left in the honey, it’ll spoil much sooner after being packaged.
Honeybees naturally dehydrate honey themselves, but it takes time — time most commercial beekeepers don’t want to fit into their production plans.
At Manukora, we do things a little differently. We implement ethical beekeeping practices that allow the bees the freedom to work at their own pace, effectively dehydrating the honey and capping each honeycomb when the process is complete.
For the sake of the bee's health and the potency of our Manuka honey, we’ve spent years mastering our extraction process. We know this natural process can be time-consuming, but we want to keep the integrity of our honey intact. This is why we don’t interrupt our bees, and we wait until that honey is 100% ready before we harvest.
When it comes to filtering, we delicately strain our Manuka to keep it smooth and creamy. And that’s it — no additional heating or processing.
Honey is sensitive to heat, which is why pasteurizing honey can be detrimental to the potency of its once-powerful nutrients. Pasteurized processed honey is rapidly heated to 170 degrees and then cooled to 130 degrees. The harsh increase and decrease in temperature can cause an unfortunate reaction in the honey that ultimately neutralizes many of its beneficial nutrients.
Keeping honey raw helps to keep its rich, natural wellness properties intact. This is especially important for Manuka honey, which is home to exceptionally powerful nutrients.
Our Manuka honey is home to nutrients like Methylglyoxal (MGO), Leptosperin, and prebiotics. MGO, in particular, is an organic compound that comes from Manuka nectar, with natural antibacterial properties that heavily contribute to Manuka honey’s worldwide fame.
Manukora Tip: Don't be alarmed if your Manuka honey appears hard or crystallized. Raw, unfiltered honey commonly follows a natural process called crystallization. We know it may look a little odd, but don’t worry; it’s not spoiled. Simply heat it back up if you want it soft and gooey again, and store in a cool, dry place. You can check out our guide on how to soften hardened honey here.
Regular Unfiltered Honey vs. Manuka Honey
Regular unfiltered honey still offers beneficial nutrients, but not the same ones as Manuka. Manuka honey is unique to a remote region in New Zealand and can only be produced by the European bees that scour the region's subtropical forests.
The distinctive quality found in our honey comes from the precious Manuka nectar collected by our worker bees. Manuka nectar comes from the blossoms of the New Zealand Manuka tea tree and is home to the powerful nutrients that make Manuka honey particularly special.
Some of these nutrients, like MGO, offer naturally occurring antibacterial properties, while others can support general wellness, immunity, and digestive health.
While we may be biased, we believe Manuka honey is the cream of the crop and the most powerful honey on the planet — that’s why we call it Honey With Superpowers™. Our Manuka honey only goes through coarse straining and still retains every bit of its beneficial potency.
Here are just a few benefits you can expect from Manuka honey (depending on its MGO level).
MGO is a special compound unique to Manuka honey known for its antibacterial properties, making it a key supporter of overall wellness. When taken by the spoonful or drizzled on your peanut butter toast, Manuka honey can also help fuel you with energy thanks to its natural carbohydrate content.
We recommend our MGO 200+ Manuka for daily wellness support.
Thanks to its bioactive compounds and nutrients, Manuka honey can support your immune system. Manuka also contains polyphenols and flavonoids, both of which offer antioxidant properties and contribute to Manuka’s role as a superfood.
We recommend our MGO 600+ Manuka to offer daily immune support that empowers your natural, healthy immune response.
It’s no secret your digestive health is vital to the proficiency at which your entire body performs.
Manuka contains high levels of prebiotics and other nutrients, which can help you maintain a healthy and balanced digestive system by supporting the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
We recommend our MGO 850+ Manuka for daily digestive support to support a healthy microbiota balance in the gut.
How Should I Eat Manuka Honey?
While Manuka honey is (in our opinion) the most delicious honey out there, its sweet taste is just the icing on the metaphorical Manuka cake. Its rich caramel taste and thick creamy consistency make it easy to pair this product with plenty of foods and beverages — here are a few ways we enjoy it.
Supercharge Your Beverage
Add an extra boost of energy to your morning drink of choice. A heaping teaspoon of Manuka will sweeten your favorite beverage while adding an extra pick-me-up that helps fuel you through the morning.
Try It on Toast
Some people prefer a five-course meal at breakfast time, but if you want a quick and easy caloric fix, try wheat toast with peanut butter and a smear of Manuka honey. It’ll be quicker than any drive-thru, and we know from experience that it’s tastier, too.
Sweeten Your Greek Yogurt
Any flavored or sweetened yogurt is more like a dessert. Even the average flavored yogurt can have up to 42 grams of sugar.
Instead, try opting for plain Greek yogurt with Manuka as the sweetener. You’ll get the delicious and rich sweetness of honey and the additional beneficial nutrients that table sugar just doesn’t offer.
Put It on Ice Cream
Honey on ice cream? Trust us — it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone if you haven’t tried it yet. Manuka is rich and creamy and is often compared to caramel because of its thick texture and sweet taste. Just think of it as a sort of caramel drizzle that doubles as a healthy indulgence.
Filtered honey goes through a filtering process that removes honeycomb, pollen, and other bits in the honey to reveal a clear and clean product. Meanwhile, unfiltered honey still retains most of those extra parts. While unfiltered honey is almost always raw, filtered honey can be either raw or processed.
Unpasteurized honey retains much more of its beneficial nutrients and typically has more to offer to support your overall wellness when compared to processed honey. Combine these properties with the unique benefits of raw Manuka honey, and you have a sweet treat that can also support your wellness, immune system, and gut health!
FAQs About Filtered vs Unfiltered Honey
What's the difference between filtered and unfiltered honey?
The main difference is the level of processing. Filtered honey goes through a rigorous process that removes elements like honeycomb, wax, etc. In contrast, unfiltered honey retains these natural elements, offering a richer taste and health benefits.
What is raw unfiltered honey?
Raw unfiltered honey is honey in its most natural state. It's unpasteurized and unprocessed, retaining the natural wax, pollen, and other particles from the honey-making process.
Is unfiltered honey better?
Unfiltered honey retains more of the beneficial compounds found in honey, which can offer wellness benefits. However, the choice between filtered and unfiltered often comes down to personal preference.
Is there a visual difference between filtered and unfiltered honey?
Yes, filtered honey is usually somewhat crystal clear and very uniform in appearance. Meanwhile, unfiltered honey is cloudier due to the particles it retains.