If you want to enjoy most of the benefits derived from honey, then the purity of honey is what you should consider before buying, and to that end, there are two types of honey – real and fake.
Unfortunately, and although fake honey might taste good, you won’t derive the benefits from the honey itself – things like honey is an excellent source of antioxidants.
Real honey contains many plant chemicals that act not only as antioxidants, but, also provide antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Fake honey won’t offer those benefits. Artificial honey also won’t heal wounds or help with digestive issues like a real honey will.
So essentially for those reasons, although your fake honey might taste good, it won’t provide for any of the benefits of honey. With fake honey, you’re essentially eating sugar.
Manufacturers are required to disclose the additives and additional substances that have been added to the manufactured honey. Check the label. But you should also check for things like whether your honey is organic, or extra sweet, or has artificial flavorings added.
Having said the above, there are many unscrupulous manufacturers who might try to pass fake honey off as real honey. So beyond checking the label, we’re going to detail 12 surefire ways to tell if your honey is fake or real.
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How to Identify Real and Fake Honey, Differentiate its Properties
The most common references to real and pure honey are organic and natural honey. As you would expect, real honey should not come from a factory but from bees. Pure honey is a natural product made by honey bees. Organic honey is made by the bees that were fed only with organically grown flowers. You will need tests to distinguish between the real and fake honey.
What is Fake Honey?
Also referred to as impure, artificial or adulterated, fake honey is ‘honey’ that has been added glucose, dextrose, molasses, sugar syrup, invert sugar, flour, corn syrup, starch, or any other similar product, other than floral nectar.
How can you Identify Real and Fake Honey?
The purity of honey can be checked in the labs whether it is pure or not. But, as we are looking for a simple way by which an average day to day consumer can quickly tell if it is fake or pure/real honey. The first and probably the most obvious step, for anyone who is concerned, is to check the label. The label contains some information that might be helpful. Below are some of the main differences in properties that will help you distinguish between the real and fake honey.
12 Differences to Identify 100% Real (Pure) and Fake Honey?
1. Honey Thickness:
- Pure Honey: It is Fairly thick and takes the time to move from one side of the jar to the other.
- Fake Honey: Not dense at all. Fake honey is very light and runny.
2. The stickiness of Honey:
- Pure Honey: It tends not to be sticky if rubbed between fingers.
- Fake Honey: It is fairly sticky because of the high percentage of added sweeteners and additives.
3. Taste of the Honey:
- Pure Honey: The taste vanishes in a matter of minutes. If you heat and cool pure honey, you will alter the taste and kill all healing and nutritional values.
- Fake Honey: Taste will remain for a little longer because of added sugars and sweeteners.
4. Honey Smell/Aroma:
- Pure Honey: If experienced, you can actually smell aromas Mild scent, probably the actual smell of the flowers from which the nectar was collected.
- Fake Honey: There is mostly none or just industrial sour smell.
5. When Heating honey:
- Pure Honey: If you heat the pure honey, it caramelizes quickly and does not make foam.
- Fake Honey: Never caramelizes and forms the foam and becomes bubbly because of the added moisture, sugars and water.
6. Dissolving Method:
- Pure Honey: Doesn’t get dissolved in water, but will lump and settle at the bottom. Gets diluted when stirred for a while. Mixing in equal amounts of honey and methylated spirits, honey settles at the bottom.
- Fake Honey: Stays incoherent and gets dissolved water right away. Dissolves in methylated spirits while making the solution milky.
7. Flame Test:
- Pure Honey: If we immerse a matchstick in the honey, it lights easily with no hesitations.
- Fake Honey: Matchstick does not light easily due to the presence of moisture.
8. Bread Test:
- Pure Honey: When spreading on a slice of bread, the slice hardens within few minutes.
- Fake Honey: It gets the bread wet due to moisture content.
- Pure Honey: Few drops poured on blotting paper do not get absorbed. When poured on a piece of white cloth, it won’t leave stains.
- Fake Honey: Gets absorbed into blotting paper. Leaves stains on a white piece of cloth.
- Pure Honey: Presence of impurities: dirty-looking particles, pollen, and bee body parties.
- Fake Honey: Absence of impurities.
11. Egg Yolk Test:
- Pure Honey: When poured into a container with yolk alone and the mixture stirred together the yolk appears like it is cooked.
- Fake Honey: Has no effect on the yolk.
There are quite a number of methods you can use to determine or know if honey is fake or pure.
12. The Alcohol Test:
One other way to check the purity of your honey is easy if you have something called denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol also goes by the name of “methylated spirits,” named for its proportion of ethyl alcohol (95%) and methyl alcohol (5%). You can buy this type of alcohol on Amazon or at hardware stores as it’s used for many purposes. It is also poisonous, so be careful with it if you use the Alcohol Test!
Basically, to check the purity of your honey with denatured alcohol you should put some of the alcohol in a cup. Then, pour a bit of your honey into the cup. If your honey is real, it will not dissolve. Instead, it will settle and collect in the bottom of the cup. Fake honey will dissolve and cause the methylated alcohol’s appearance to become a bit milky.
Again, be very careful with a substance like this one!
How to Check the Purity of Honey at Home:
According to Natural Nigerian, most producers will dilute nectar-made honey with molasses and sugar syrup in order to boost their profits. To boost the thickness of the honey, some will add to it flour, sand, sawdust or even ground chalk. In order to check the purity of honey at home, here’s what to do:
- 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.
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:
Organic honey is flammable. Here’s a test to know 100% pure organic honey.
- Take a dry matchstick and 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.
The Stain Test:
For this test, refer to number 9. This is a great one to do at home because we all have some old cloths lying around! To do this, find a light-colored (preferably white) cloth or rag that you don’t use anymore, this will be your “test subject” if you will. Here are the steps to carry out the Stain Test:
- Secure the rag on which you want to test your honey’s purity.
- Pour a drizzle of your honey on the white cloth.
- Wait about 2 minutes.
- Wash off the honey from the rag.
So, what now? Now, you check the rag’s color where you drizzled the honey. If your honey is real, you’ll find that there is no discoloration nor remnants on the rag. Otherwise, if there is still a bit of stain on the rag where you put on the honey, your honey is not pure.
So, we hope that this article helped you become an expert on whether honey is real or fake! These were just some of the most simple and common ways to test pure honey at home. If you know any other tips that we didn’t mention here, let us know in the comments section below.
Which honey do you prefer? Real or fake?