FOOD

3 Ways to Sweeten Your Summer With Manuka Honey

June 20th, 2019

Manuka honey is a rich nectar harvested from flowers that grow in New Zealand and is known for its antibacterial properties. In this installment of Prep School, Chef Megan Mitchell demonstrates how to incorporate this sweet ingredient into three of her favorite summer recipes. “Indigenous people have been using Manuka honey for centuries. It’s raw, it’s wild, and it’s unpasteurized. Specific bees make this for a short period of time, which makes it extra special (and a bit more expensive),” Mitchell says. As for cooking, Mitchell says a little bit goes a long way, and to help preserve the natural enzymes, don’t heat Manuka honey. “It’s so fragrant and floral, and tastes like honey on steroids!”

Unfortunately, Manuka honey’s unique properties mean that there are a lot of counterfeit versions out there—so how do you know you’re getting the real deal? Look for the UMF rating on the label, which stands for “Unique Manuka Factor.” This third-party rating tests the antibacterial performance of the honey and serves as the current industry standard.

Now let’s get cooking!


Watermelon and Basil Push Pops

Watermelon and Basil Push Pops

These popsicles will cool you down on a hot day, making them the perfect dairy-free summer treat. Made from juicy watermelon and sweetened with a squirt of Manuka honey, this dessert is perfect for sharing.

Yield: 10 to 12 pops
Active time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 2-inch cubes (roughly 8 cups)
1 large lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Comvita UMF 5+ Manuka Honey, plus more as needed
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup packed basil leaves

Instructions

Add all ingredients except basil to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth; taste for flavor. Depending on the sweetness of your watermelon, you may need to add more honey. Add the basil and blend for 10 seconds more, until broken down. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4 to 5 hours, or until solid. Enjoy!


Honeydew, Cucumber and Mint Push-Pops

Watermelon and Basil Push Pops

Another dairy-free delight, these pops are extra refreshing thanks to the flavor trio of honeydew melon, crisp cucumber, and cooling mint.

Yield: 10 to 12 pops
Active time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

½ large honeydew melon, cut into 2-inch cubes (roughly 8 cups)
½ English cucumber, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons Comvita UMF 5+ Manuka Honey, plus more as needed
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup packed mint leaves

Instructions

Add melon to a high-speed blender and blend to break down slightly. Add cucumber, lime, honey, and salt; blend on high until smooth, then taste for flavor. Depending on the sweetness of the melon, you may need to add more lime or honey. Add the mint and blend until broken down. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 4 to 5 hours, or until solid. Enjoy!


Stone Fruit, Burrata, and Arugula Salad With Manuka Honey and Prosciutto

Stone Fruit Salad

If you haven’t used stone fruit in savory recipes before, now’s the perfect time to start. You can indulge in peaches, nectarines, and plums on their own, but try them dressed in a lemony dressing and tossed with arugula. This recipe is practically guaranteed to be a new favorite summer side, especially when salty prosciutto and creamy burrata are invited to the party.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings
Active time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

5 ounces wild arugula
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Comvita UMF 5+ Manuka Honey
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 yellow peaches, pitted and quartered
2 nectarines, pitted quartered
2 plums, apricots or pluots, pitted and halved
1 (8-ounce) ball burrata cheese
3 to 4 slices prosciutto
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
Edible flowers for garnish, optional

Instructions

Place the arugula in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour half the dressing over the arugula and toss, then arrange the arugula on a platter. Place the cut stone fruit into the same bowl you tossed the arugula in and pour the remaining dressing on top; gently stir to coat. Arrange dressed fruit on top of the arugula, followed by torn pieces of burrata, prosciutto, and thinly sliced serrano pepper. Garnish with edible flowers (if using), and freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Recipes by Chef Megan Mitchell

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Nicole GulottaNicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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