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.
But, since food regulations remain a bit dodgy, you can never be too sure and this may not be a foolproof way. So, can you really tell the difference between real and fake honey? To know the truth, test it at home.
The best quality of honey comes from bees and not factories and so, a good starting point would be to read the ingredient label. Look out for words like ‘raw’, ‘natural’, ‘forest honey’ or ‘organic’ – they may be safer than regular honey.
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.
Here are some easy tricks to check its purity and ways to spot adulterated honey.
1. The Thumb Test: 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.
2. The Water Test: Take a teaspoon of the honey and put in a glass full of water. Fake or adulterated honey will dissolve in the water while pure honey which has a more dense texture will settle right at the bottom of the glass as lumps. The same is the case with blotting paper or a white cloth. If you pour pure honey on the two, it will not get absorbed or leave stains.
3. 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.
4. Use vinegar: 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.
5. 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.