Honeydew Honey – a rising star
Full of antioxidants, powerful antibacterial properties, high in gut friendly prebiotics and a unique, rich taste. Honeydew honey is a rising star in New Zealand and is interesting not only for its taste but also for its exceptional health benefits and the way it is created. Some even rate it higher that Manuka Honey, here’s why;
It’s made differently
Honeydew honey is produced in quite a different way to floral honey varieties and is a more complex process. When bees produce honeydew honey that don’t start with nectar, as they do when they make floral honey such as Manuka. Instead of collecting the nectar straight from the flower they get it from another secondary source called honeydew. Honeydew is produced by forest insects known as aphids. These honeydew producing scale insects collect sap from specific trees that they then turn into honeydew. Honeybees collect this sticky substance to produce a dark, rich, intense honey.
Honeydew honey is well known in Europe but in recent years Honeydew honey from New Zealand’s South Island is making an appearance. The forests of the South Island are perfect habitats for honeydew producing scale insects.
Interestingly, as honeydew is different to nectar the make up of honeydew honey is different to floral honey types. Compared to floral honey it is lower in simple sugars such as glucose and fructose and high in more complex sugars and minerals. This means it doesn’t crystallise like other honey but also that its nutritional content is more favourable.
Powerful antibacterial and antioxidant properties
Research has shown that Honeydew Honey from New Zealand actually has higher levels of antibacterial properties when compared to other honey types due to the presence of glucose oxidase, an antibacterial enzyme.
Another great benefit of this rising star is its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants in our diet are critical as they help to fight off the cell damage caused by free radicals. The presence of antioxidants leads to less illness and reduces the signs of ageing in the body. Honeydew honey has the highest antioxidant content out of all honeys.
Helps maintain a healthy gut
Prebiotics are important for maintaining gut health as they help maintain probiotics, good bacteria. The gut is the engine to our overall wellbeing so if we have a balanced digestive system our bodies are more efficient and we feel better. Honeydew honey has been shown to have the highest levels of prebiotic, known as oligosaccharides, when compared to other honey types.
Deep, rich and unique
Strong in taste and dark in appearance this variety of honey is full of flavour and intense. With a silky texture and earthy, malty notes it is perfect for use in marinades in savoury dishes, paired with cheeses or in a salad dressing.
Our recommendations – Airborne Honeydew Honey
There are loads of great New Zealand Honeydew honeys out there. We have reviewed Airborne’s Honeydew but we also recommend Mount Somers which is also from the South Island. We used Airbornes online tracking feature to see the locations where the bees collected the honeydew to make our pot of honey and also a range of parameters to measure authenticity and quality.
Although the flavour is strong it is not polarising. The taste is very enjoyable and has a fairly wide appeal. From New Zealand Beech Forests in the South Island, it has a malty, earthy flavour making it most suitable for a savoury dish such as a meat marinade, salad dressing or for cheese pairing.
Resembling golden syrup this honey is thick, runny and golden. It spreads and pours well making it an ideal ingredient or accompaniment. It is a deep golden colour typical of a good Honeydew honey.
We love Airborne because of the traceability of their products and how they pioneer the honey industry for New Zealand. We think this is a brand that is worth paying a little more for and the Honeydew honey variety doesn’t disappoint. It is available at New Zealand supermarkets for an affordable price.