Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Verify the Purity of Honey

Fake and impure honey have become commonplace in the market today, despite many people's preference of 100% bees' honey. The problem with this is, unfortunately, fake and impure honey can be passed off as pure very easily. When viewed on the shelf, it is very hard to pick out what is pure, and what is not. There are, however, a few ways to figure this out.


Steps

1. Check the label. You would be amazed at how many people neglect to look closely at the label of food products before buying them, and then are dismayed to find they bought something they really didn't want. Check around the brand name, and the ingredients list (if there is one) for a mention of additives. The company should be required to list them if you are shopping in certain countries. If there are no mentions of additives, buy the honey.

2. Taste the honey. If it seems off, and yet the label claims it is pure, there are a few simple tests you can run to check the purity of the honey.

The water glass test

Get a glass of water. This and a tablespoon of honey are all you need for the first test.

Empty the honey into the water. If the honey is impure, it will dissolve in the water- the most common additive to honey is syrup of jaggery, which dissolves. If it is pure, the honey will stick together, and sink as a solid lump to the bottom of the glass.

The flame test

Get a lighter and a candle with a cotton wick. This test is better if you don't have as much honey to spare.

Dip the cotton wick of the candle into a bit of the honey, and shake off the excess.

Attempt to light the wick. If it burns, then that is completely pure honey. If it refuses to burn, then the presence of water is not allowing the wick to burn. (If there is only a very small amount of honey on the wick, though, it might still burn. It will produce a crackling sound, and it would be best to blow out the wick and try again if it does, this time with more honey.)

The absorption test

Pour a few drops of honey on blotting paper and observe whether or not it is absorbed. If it's absorbed, the honey's not pure.

If you don't have blotting paper, pour a little bit of honey on a white cloth, then wash the cloth. If there is any stain left by the honey, it is probably not pure.

The mixture test

Mix equal part honey and methylated spirits.

Stir well.

Pure honey will settle to the bottom. Impure honey is more likely to remain dissolved and make the solution milky.

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