Heat-sensitive enzymes in manuka
Manuka honey contains beneficial enzymes. These are naturally-occurring bio-ingredients that gives manuka honey its antibacterial properties. Like most bio-ingredients, the enzymes are destroyed by high heat or prolong exposure to high temperature.
It is not advisable to mix manuka honey in hot water. As a general rule, manuka honey is best consumed directly. For those who desires a cup of warm honey drink, try to keep the water to no hotter than 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
It is also worthy to note that honey has been used as sweetener for beverages, especially for tea and coffee. As a sweetener, manuka honey will do a fine job. However, since tea and coffee are usually served hotter than 40C (104F), the bio-benefits of manuka honey in tea and coffee would be much more diminished.
Raw honey vs pasteurized honey
The process of heating food to kill off bacteria is called pasteurization. This is a quick and easy way to prolong the expiry of food. However, much of the beneficial amino acids and bio enzymes would be lost to high heat.
Therefore, it is not advisable to use manuka as ingredient in your baking, unless you are only after the honey’s unique aroma and are not bothered about the loss of the bioenzymes to heat.
For this reason, most manuka honey are micro-filtered and cold-processed to remove pollen residues, dirts and dust. In this way, the beneficial enzymes in manuka are not killed off, and the honey retains its anti microbial properties.
Certain producers label their maunka as “Raw” honey. The word “Raw” suggests that the honey is not subject to pasteurization and would be cold-processed or minimally handled from tree to jar. It is close to pure honey as nature has intended.