Rata Honey - Airborne Honey - 500g

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Price: US$10.64

0.62 kg

Rata Honey is produced predominantly from the Southern Rata on the West coast of New Zealand\’s South Island. While there are eight Rata species (Metrosideros sp.) in New Zealand including some vines as well as trees, Southern Rata (Metrosideros umbellata) is the main honey source. The honey is very light in colour (5-25mm pfund scale) and distinctively flavoured with an almost salty taste. The pollen is triangular and typical of the Myrtaceae (Myrtle) family which includes eucalypts, bottle brushes and leptospermums (manuka).

Southern Rata flowers from early January to March. The lowland trees start flowering first and the flowering then progresses up to higher altitudes. In some areas it is possible to see a distinct band of red cutting around the mountainsides, the lower trees having finished flowering. The frequency of the Rata flowering is sporadic, some saying it flowers well every 3 years and spectacularly every 7 years. This is an approximation only as it can flower well for 3 years in a row and not at all some years making the honey supply intermittent. This irregularity of supply is offset by Rata being one of the finest honeys in the World, and when a good flowering coincides with with fine, stable weather, it can produce a prolific crop of high quality. "Fine weather" however is a commodity that is often lacking on the South Island\’s West Coast. The "Coast" has a very high rainfall with the Otira region averaging over 300 inches (7.6 metres) of rain per year!

Rata honey is one of our fastest crystallising honeys with a proportionally high glucose content. This can present problems to the producers extracting Rata honey. If they don\’st get it extracted and processed ready for sale quickly, it sets hard and stays in the combs! Because of this feature of Rata honey, it is impossible to present it as a liquid honey without severe microfiltering and heat treatment. Rather we utilize this characteristic to create one of our finest creamed honeys.

Another peculiarity of Rata honey is the almost complete absence of higher molecular sugars. While the initial number of analyses showing this information is low, these have shown an almost total absence of oligosaccharides. This is a feature that could be used for floral source identification but generally the other honey types associated with Rata honey are easy to separate. These are typically Kamahi and Quintinea, both of which flower earlier than Rata, have normally represented pollen spectra and are darker in colour.

Rata has also been shown to be low in some natural enzymes, particularly diastase and invertase. This is something that is not unusual in plants that evolved in parts of the World that were separated from honey bees.


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