Honey is well known for its positive health benefits, thanks to its high mineral and vitamin contents. Unfortunately, not all the honey sold at the supermarket is pure. Honey is often adulterated, meaning it is mixed with glucose solutions or low-quality honeys with a high water content, because the honey has been taken from cells that are not properly covered with wax. Here are a few simple tests you can do at home to check if your honey is high-quality and pure, or impure and with a high water content.
Read the label
The first thing you should do before buying a jar of honey is read the label and check that the ingredient list doesn’t contain “high-fructose corn syrup” or commercial glucose, two additives that are frequently used to “stretch” the honey and keep it from solidifying.
What is Fake Honey?
On the other hand, what you are likely to be consuming could be fake honey. So, what is fake? Also called adulterated, impure or artificial honey, this one has been added sugar syrups, molasses, corn syrup, dextrose, and other flavors and additives.
Solidification of the honey
All honey is liquid, but with time they tend to solidify, or “crystallize” into a substance resembling grains of sugar. If you buy a jar of honey that is already crystallized, it is pure. If your honey is liquid, you can wait a few days to see if it solidifies or throw it in the fridge to accelerate the process. If the honey never crystallizes, there is a high probability that it is adulterated honey.
Tricks for knowing if your honey is pure
Here are some easy tricks that can be useful for checking if the honey you have bought is pure or if it has been in some way adulterated or has a high water content.
1- Take a tablespoon of honey and put it in a glass of water. If the honey dissolves, then it is not pure. Pure honey should stay together as a solid when submerged in water.
2- Take a bit of honey and mix it with water. Then place four or five drops of vinegar into the solution. If it turns foamy, the honey might have been adulterated with gypsum.
3- Scoop a bit of honey into a spoon and let it fall from the spoon. Honey with high water content will fall quickly. Mature honey of good quality will stay on the spoon or fall very slowly.
4- Light a match and try to burn some of the honey. If it lights and burns, then it is pure. Impure or low-quality honey often contains extra water that keeps it from burning.
5- If you have iodine at home, take some honey, mix it with water, and add a few drops of iodine. If the solution turns blue, then the honey has been adulterated with some sort of starch or flour.
6- Take a small piece of old, hard bread and submerge it in the honey. If, when you remove it 10 minutes later, the bread is still hard, then the honey is pure. If there is a lot of water in the honey, the bread will soften.
7- The Flame Test to Know Pure Honey
Did you know that organic honey is flammable? Here’s a test to know 100% pure organic honey.
- Take a dry matchstick
- Dip its tip right into the honey
- Strike the stick on the matchbox as if to light it
- If the honey is pure, the matchstick will light with ease
- The flame will also keep burning off the honey
- However, if it is with impurities, it will not light because fake honey contains moisture as one of the impurities
8- Drop honey on blotting paper or a paper towel
If honey has been diluted with water, it may be absorbed or leave a wet mark on an absorbent material such as blotting paper. Pure honey should not be absorbed, but unfortunately, neither will honey diluted with most sugar syrups.
9- Thumb Test
- The procedure to do a thumb test to test pure honey is:
- Put a small drop of the honey you have on your thumb
- Check to see if it spills or spreads around
- If it does, it is not pure
- Pure honey will stay intact on your thumb
As you can see, these simple tests will help you confirm the quality of the honey you buy and choose the purest, highest-quality option, in turn helping you reap the maximum benefits of including honey in your diet.