Honey can be a wonderful alternative to your refined sugar which is just a source of empty calories. This lovely ingredient made by nature can not only sweeten your life but it is also abundant in minerals, nutrients and living enzymes. If you want to enjoy the benefits of using honey, you must consider its purity before buying. The biggest problem with honey is its quality. It can be quite a challenge to find good, pure honey. Like many other food commodities, adulteration is common. It is easy to cheat you as commercial honey can often be mixed with glucose solution, high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients you may not even know about. Sometimes, when you open the jar of honey and hear a little ‘pop’ sound that could signal that the honey has been adulterated as some fermentation process may have take place inside it.
In order to check the purity of honey at home, here’s what to do:
Here’s the procedure to do a thumb test:
- 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
Place a small amount of honey on your thumb and check if spills or spreads around like any other liquid. If it does, it may not be pure. Pure honey is thick while impure honey will be runny. Pure honey sticks to the surface it is applied to and doesn’t drip away. Moreover, the taste of impure honey may linger due to the presence of added sugar.
The Water Test to Spot Fake Honey
Here’s how to do the water test:
- Fill a glass with water
- Add one tablespoon of honey into the glass
- Adulterated or artificial honey will dissolve in water and you will see it around the glass
- Pure honey on the other hand will settle right at the bottom of your glass
The Flame Test
You may have not known this, but pure honey is inflammable. Although, we’ll request to you observe utmost caution while performing this test and do it at your own risk. Take a dry matchstick and dip it in honey. Strike the matchstick against the matchbox. If it lights, your honey is pure. If it doesn’t light, it may be adulterated and may also contain some amount of moisture added while contamination.
- 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
These are some of the simple and common ways to test pure honey at home. Another common method to tell the difference is as follows: add some water and 2-3 drops of vinegar essence into the honey and mix well. If the solution becomes foamy, that is definitely adulterated honey.
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.
There are also other ways to test for honey purity but they have raised debates. One major test that is controversial is the “ant test”. A group of individuals argues that ants are attracted to fake honey due to its sugar content but not attracted to pure honey due to a component that is a natural pest repellent. Not a lot of information exists to support this test and in addition, there is no known reason why the little creatures (ants) would favor processed sugar over real honey not forgetting the ants may not always be “available” at all places for a honey assessment. The reason why a sweet liquid is more attractive than another for the ants could also be due to other factors such as liquid density, flavors which vary depending on the floral types.
Mix a tablespoon of honey, some water and 2-3 drops of vinegar essence together. If this mixture foams up, there’s a very high chance that your honey may be adulterated.
The Heat Test
If you heat pure honey, it will caramelise quickly and not become foamy. But, in case of impure honey it may not caramelise and become bubbly on heating.
A lot of the differences between pure and adulterated honey can also be identified just with the naked eye by examining its physical properties. Pure honey is dense and trickles only into a stream. It has a soft texture, will never separate into layers and offers a distinct sweet aroma. Raw honey, which is honey in its purest form, often leaves a slight tingling feeling or a mild burning sensation in your throat when consumed.