Pure Honey Versus Adulterated Honey: How To Tell The Difference

The world is going organic and everyone is seeking for natural, safe alternatives to the artificial junk pervading the entire food market. One of such alternatives is honey — a natural sweetener and also a natural remedy for a lot of diseases; mother nature’s instant fix. The issue is that the mega corporations have started a new lie: passing adulterated honey as pure honey to maximize profit.

Honey is a supersaturated sugar solution that is gooey, sticky, clear and golden-brown in color. It is a natural product produced by honeybees. It is sourced from honeycombs in beehives where bees which take up the nectar of different plants regurgitate them as honey. It has been used by man as an ingredient in different recipes right before pharmaceutical and food manufacturing industries came into existence. Honey can be said to be the only reason the world recognizes the existence of apiarists. Apiary is the science of keeping or rearing bees.

Adulterated honey, however, poses a threat to the wellbeing of individuals who have decided to quit sugar for one reason or another. This is because the additives can range from corn syrup to fructose, glucose, and dextrose which are all sugar derivatives. There is also the addition of water to increase the volume of the honey. There are some simple steps/tests to determine the purity of the honey. These tests range from sight to taste and the ability of the honey to burn easily when lighted with fire.

  • Color/Sight Test

This is also known as Transparency test. This just requires you to look through a jar of honey. Pure honey will be transparent and will allow you to be able to see through the honey, but adulterated honey is slightly or half transparent. This is the easiest and most common way to tell.

  • Tongue Test

The main disadvantage of this method is that most honey jars are sealed and can only be opened after purchase; plus not everyone knows the taste of pure honey. Another reason for this test’s unreliability is the different sources of honey which range from the nectar of different flowers and saps to the secretions of sap-eating insects. Each of these produces different flavors, and even the honey of one beehive can vary from year to year as they collect nectar from different sources. Anyhow, all you need do for this test is to taste it; pure honey isn’t too sweet or bland, it’s somewhere in between.

  • Water Test

Scoop some honey out of a jar with a spoon and drop it into a glass of water. Pure honey will move through the glass of water immediately and settle at the bottom, while adulterated honey will keep dissolving as it moves through the glass of water.

  • Burn Test

Pure honey burns easily when set on fire. Dip a stick/cotton bud into a jar of honey and place it over a burning flame in a cooker. If it is pure honey, it will burn easily. If it is adulterated honey, however, you will hear a cracking sound when placed over a flame.

  • Tilt & Slide Test

Place a glob of honey on a plate and tilt the plate to one side. If the honey glides down the plate leaving no mark behind, it is pure honey. If it is adulterated honey, it will spread all over the plate.

  • Stain Test

Place a spoon of honey on a white cloth (for ease of inference) and scoop it off after some time. If it does not stain/leave a mark on the cloth, it is pure honey. If it is adulterated honey, it will stain and leave a mark behind on the cloth.

  • Paper Absorption Test

Place some honey on a piece of plain white paper and leave for a few minutes. Pure honey will not be absorbed by the paper, but adulterated honey will be partially or completely absorbed by the paper. This test can be performed interchangeably with the stain test.

  • Shape Test

The best has been saved for last. This method is the most trusted and recommended by honey suppliers and sellers.  The shape to be looking out for in this test is the hexagon shape — a hexagon has six sides.

For this test, scoop a spoon of honey into a plate (preferably a transparent plate or glass bowl for easy inference). After that, slowly add normal temperature water and turn the plate in a clockwise direction repeatedly for about a minute. After the one minute has elapsed, you will see a hexagon shape or almost hexagon shape hovering over the honey-water solution. The presence of this shape indicates the honey is pure and it’s absence indicates the honey is adulterated.

It is essential to be able to differentiate between pure and adulterated honey in order to reap the health benefits inherent in honey. The purpose of this article is to make fewer people fall prey to the lies of unscrupulous manufacturers who mix different things together and pass it as pure honey to the unsuspecting consumer. Hopefully, one or eight of these tests would aid in the identification of pure honey and the promotion of a healthier lifestyle for someone out there.


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