Does Manuka Honey Expire Or Go Bad

Does Manuka Honey Expire Or Go Bad?

Honey has been a widely popular food item for thousands of years due to its numerous health benefits. Among the different types of honey, Manuka honey has gained immense popularity in recent years. This type of honey is produced by bees that feed on the nectar of the Manuka bush, which is native to New Zealand. Manuka honey has been praised for its antibacterial and healing properties, making it a go-to remedy for various health issues. However, like all food items, there are questions about its shelf life and whether it can expire or go bad. In this article, we will explore the topic: Does Manuka honey expire or go bad?


How Can I Evaluate The Freshness Of Pure Manuka Honey?

When evaluating the freshness and quality of pure Manuka honey, there are several factors to consider. Maānuka honey is renowned for its unique properties and potential health benefits, primarily due to the presence of methylglyoxal (MGO).

Here are some tips to help you assess the freshness of Manuka honey:

UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) or MGO Rating: Look for the UMF or MGO rating on the honey jar. This rating indicates the concentration of beneficial compounds, especially MGO. The higher the UMF or MGO, the more potent the honey will be. Ensure that the rating matches the label claim.

Origin and Certification: Ensure the Manuka honey is sourced from reputable producers and regions. Authentic Manuka honey typically originates from New Zealand, and some products carry the "UMF Certified" or "Manuka Honey Certified" labels. These certifications provide reassurance of quality.

Purity Testing: Some manufacturers conduct additional tests, such as pollen analysis, to verify the purity of Maānuka honey. These tests confirm that the honey comes from the nectar of the Manuka tree and hasn't been adulterated with other types of honey.

Color and Texture: Fresh Maānuka honey usually exhibits a dark color, ranging from creamy caramel to rich brown. It also possesses a thick, dense texture. However, note that the color and texture can vary, so it's essential to consider these factors alongside other indicators.

Crystallization: All honey, including Maānuka honey, has the potential to crystallize over time.

Aroma and Taste: Maānuka honey is known for its distinct flavor and aroma, which may include earthy, herbal, or slightly medicinal notes. Fresh Maānuka honey should exhibit a robust taste and lingering sweetness.

Packaging: Check the packaging for any signs of tampering or damage. Ensure the honey is stored in a dark, opaque container, as exposure to light can degrade its quality.

Date of Production: Some producers include a "packed on" or "harvested on" date on the label. Checking the date can provide insight into the honey's age.

If you have specific concerns about the authenticity or quality of the honey, consider purchasing from reputable and established brands or directly from certified Manuka honey producers.

Does Manuka Honey Expire Or Go Bad?

Pure Manuka honey possesses natural properties that render it resistant to spoilage, granting it a prolonged shelf life when stored appropriately. Unlike many other food items, honey, including Maānuka honey, does not spoil or expire in the conventional sense.

manuka honey does not spoil or expire

Why Doesn't Manuka Honey Spoil?

Maānuka honey, like other honey varieties, possesses natural properties that contribute to its resistance to spoilage. Several factors contribute to the long shelf life and ability of Maānuka honey to resist deterioration:

Low Water Content: Honey has a low water content, typically around 18%. This intense moisture level creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria and microorganisms to thrive, requiring higher water content for proliferation.

Acidity: Honey is naturally acidic, with a pH level of 3.2 to 4.5. This acidity inhibits the growth of bacteria and spoilage microorganisms. The combination of acidity and low water content creates unfavorable conditions for pathogen proliferation.

Hygroscopic Properties: Honey is hygroscopic, meaning it can absorb and retain moisture from the air. This property contributes to its low water activity, making it less susceptible to spoilage and microbial growth.

Natural Preservatives: Honey contains natural preservatives, such as hydrogen peroxide, produced by the glucose oxidase enzyme. This enzyme helps protect honey from bacterial contamination.

Osmotic Effect: The high sugar concentration in honey creates an osmotic effect that draws water out of microorganisms, preventing their growth and contributing to honey preservation.

Antimicrobial Compounds: Maānuka honey, in particular, is known for its unique antimicrobial properties. The presence of methylglyoxal (MGO) in Manuka honey provides additional antibacterial and antifungal qualities, further inhibiting the growth of spoilage microorganisms.

These natural attributes work together to create an environment in honey that resists spoilage, making it a stable and long-lasting food product. It's important to note that the preservation qualities of honey can be compromised if it comes into contact with water or is contaminated with foreign substances.Proper storage of honey involves keeping it in a sealed container in a cool and dry place. This helps to maintain its quality over time.

Is It Safe to Consume Expired Manuka Honey?

Regarding the term "expired," honey has no strict expiration date. If you notice any signs of spoilage such as an off smell, unusual taste, or the presence of mold, it is best to discard the honey. Improper storage can lead to fermentation over time, resulting in a distinct odor and taste that is not recommended for consumption.

Before consuming honey, especially if it has been stored for a long period, it is important to check for any color, texture, or flavor changes. If the Manuka honey appears normal and shows no spoilage, it should be safe to consume.

How To Store Manuka Honey?

the women stores manuka honey

Proper storage is essential for maintaining the quality and freshness of Manuka honey. Here are some practical guidelines to follow:

Seal it Tight: Always ensure the container is tightly sealed after each use. This prevents moisture, contaminants, and air from compromising the honey's quality over time.

Keep it Cool: Manuka honey, like all honey, should be stored in a cool place. Avoid direct sunlight or excessive heat, as they can cause flavor, color, and beneficial properties to deteriorate. Room temperature or slightly cooler environments are ideal.

Shield from Light: Manuka honey is sensitive to light. To preserve its quality, store it in a dark or opaque container. If it comes in a clear glass or plastic jar, consider keeping it in a dark cupboard or wrapping the container in an opaque material.

Dry Environment: Honey has low water content, and exposure to moisture can lead to fermentation or spoilage. Store Manuka honey in a dry environment to prevent water absorption.

Avoid Refrigeration: While refrigeration is possible, it's unnecessary and may cause crystallization. Honey crystallizes more quickly at lower temperatures, but it can be reversed.

Clean Utensils: When scooping honey, use clean and dry utensils. Avoid introducing moisture or contaminants, as they can affect quality.

Check for Contamination: Periodically inspect the honey for foreign particles, mold, or unusual changes in color or texture. If anything seems abnormal, it's advisable to discard the honey.

By following these storage guidelines, you can preserve the quality of Manuka honey and enjoy its unique properties for an extended period. Properly stored Manuka honey remains fresh and safe for consumption.

Manuka honey is sensitive to light

Is Crystallized Honey Considered Harmful?

Crystallized honey is not considered harmful. Crystallization is a natural and standard process that can occur in all types of honey, including Manuka honey. Crystallization happens when the sugars in honey, primarily glucose, separate from the water content and form crystals.

Crystallized honey is safe to consume, and its nutritional benefits remain unchanged. The crystallization of honey is a natural occurrence and does not indicate any harm or spoilage.

How Can I De-Crystallize Honey?

De-crystallizing honey is a straightforward process that allows you to restore crystallized honey to its liquid state. Here are several effective methods to de-crystallize honey:

Warm Water Bath

  • Place the jar of crystallized honey in a bowl or basin.
  • Fill the bowl with warm water, ensuring the water level is below the lid of the honey jar.
  • Let the jar sit in the warm water for approximately 20-30 minutes.
  • Periodically stir the honey gently to distribute the heat evenly and facilitate melting.
  • Once the honey has returned to its liquid state, remove it from the water bath.

Microwave Method

  • Transfer the crystallized honey to a microwave-safe container, removing metal lids or elements.
  • Heat the honey in the microwave using a low power setting (around 20-30% power) for short intervals (10-20 seconds).
  • Stir the honey between intervals to ensure even heat distribution and prevent overheating.
  • Repeat this process until the honey has fully liquefied.
  • Be cautious not to overheat the honey, as excessive heat can compromise its quality.

Sunlight Method

  • Place the jar of crystallized honey in direct sunlight.
  • The gentle warmth from the sunlight will gradually melt the crystals.
  • This method may take longer than others, so patience is vital. Allow several days for the honey to return to its liquid state.

Oven Method

  • Transfer the crystallized honey to an oven-safe container.
  • Preheat the oven to a very low temperature, around 100°F or 38°C.
  • Place the honey in the oven and allow it to warm up slowly.
  • Stir the honey periodically to promote even melting.
  • Once the honey has fully liquefied, remove it from the oven.

Remember, regardless of the method chosen, it is crucial to avoid overheating the honey as it can negatively impact its quality, flavor, and beneficial properties.

Also, ensure that any container used in the microwave or oven suits those appliances. After successfully de-crystallizing the honey, store it in a cool, dry place to slow the crystallization process.


Can I Eat 2 Year Expired Honey?

Honey, even if it's a couple of years past the expiration date, is likely safe to eat as long as it shows no signs of spoilage.

How Long Can Manuka Honey Be Stored?

Proper storage is crucial for maintaining Manuka honey's quality; if stored correctly, it can last indefinitely.

Is Honey Still Good After 10 Years?

Honey has an impressive shelf life, and as long as it is stored correctly, it can remain suitable for consumption for many years.

What Does Rancid Honey Smell Like?

The smell of rancid honey can vary, but unpleasant or sour notes generally characterize it.

Can You Eat Crystallized Honey?

Crystallized honey is perfectly safe to eat, and whether you choose to enjoy it in its crystallized form or return it to a liquid state is a matter of personal preference.


The query "Does Manuka Honey expire or go bad?" can be addressed by understanding that, with proper storage, Manuka honey can last indefinitely without spoiling or losing its beneficial properties. Its crystallization does not indicate spoilage but is a natural process that can be easily reversed. Manuka honey's quality largely depends on storage conditions, which include a cool, dry environment, protection from light, and avoiding moisture and contamination. It's safe to consume even after many years, provided no spoilage exists.

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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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