Steens Manuka Honey Score
This is yet another New Zealand, family owned manuka honey product. Paul and Sheryl’s story is inspiring and full of delicious jars of unpasteurized honey.
The two young entrepreneurs began their honey journey more than 35 years ago. Starting with only 3 hives, they managed to grow their business and begin exporting their tasty product overseas.
How It All Started For Steens
Dr. Peter Molan’s research on the unique anti-bacterial properties of manuka honey was a turning point for Steens business model. In the mid-1980s, the company decided to focus entirely on the production of high-quality manuka honey. So, they dropped all other honey-based products and dedicated all of their time and attention to growing their manuka beehives.
The result? Steens became one of the founding members of the Active Manuka Honey Association (AMHA). Their commitment to improving the honey industry has been well recognized over the past 30 years. The company now plays a very integral part of the manuka industry in New Zealand.
Located in the North Island of New Zealand, to this day Steens remains one of the largest beekeeping operations in the world. Not too bad for an ex-butcher and an ex-teacher!
About Steens Manuka Honey
The first thing I noticed about this honey, was that their label claimed both the UMF and MGO grades. Up to this point, I had not seen another company do this. So, I got curious and emailed Steens’ headquarters to ask if they were certified under both the UMFHA and the MGO. To my initial surprise, they were!
So, the curious head that I am, I went digging more into the company. I was genuinely intrigued mostly because their honey is 4 times more expensive than Comvita, Kiva, and other similar brands. I had to find out what makes their product so much more special.
Let me begin by saying that this is the thickest most condense and yet delicious manuka honey that I have tried in the past 12 months. But, what makes it different.
Steens’ honey is cold pressed and not creamed. See, most well-known brands subject their manuka to high temperatures in order to cream the honey. Some recent studies demonstrate that the flavonoids and enzymes of manuka can be damaged when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, lowering the anti-bacterial properties of the honey.
This process of creaming is achieved by processing the honey twice, instead of once. This leads to natural crystals being melted in favor of achieving a smooth consistency. Most large commercial brands are known for doing this.
Steens manuka honey is unpasteurized and cold pressed. Instead of being heated to 158F (70C), this honey is only being heated to hive temperatures (96F or 36C). After that, the honey is left in order to settle naturally. It is argued, that this process does not weaken the amino acids and enzymes present in the honey. Therefore, producing higher nutrient content.
Bee bread is another distinguishing characteristic of Steens’ manuka. Bee bread is how the industry refers to the plant pollen that bees take into the hive. Once the pollen is in, the worker bees add enzymes, honey and microbial secretion to it. The pollen is then stored and ready to undergo a lactic acid fermentation process. This is generally the process that makes pollen easy to consume and digest by humans. This is so because it breaks down the hard outer shell of the plant pollen.
Having said all of that, this is one of the thickest, most nutritious and delicious manuka honey that I have ever had. I also noticed that this honey charges you with energy almost right away. All kinds of honey are simple carbohydrates, which is why your body can quickly break them and use them as energy. A lot of bodybuilders eat honey before a serious workout. Steens’ manuka breaks down faster than any other honey I have ever tried.
This honey is expensive, but it is worth it for medicinal purposes. It is very strong and it will fight off any infection, be it internal or external. This is perhaps one of the purest brands of manuka honey on the market. The reason it is not featured on my top list is because of the price.