How to Check the Purity of Honey

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Honey has so many wonderful benefits! Whether you take it raw by the spoonful or mixed in your tea, honey is such a versatile product that I’m so grateful for! Used for centuries in both Eastern (Ayuverdic) and Western (Greek) medicine, it’s nature’s medicine at its finest! Humans even risk their lives climbing 10m tall trees with nothing but a single rope to get pure honey from a beehive. While climbing a 10m tall tree is out of the question for most of us, I can promise you a few tips to help you buy the purest honey.

Here’s an infographic below to see what else bees produce.

You might be wondering why all the honey available to us is not pure. Unfortunately, where there is profit involved, expect unethical companies to cut corners. Their intention is to deceive consumers by selling honey mixed with inferior products. I sincerely believe knowledge is power and detest unethical companies who carry out such actions. So here are a few tips to help you buy only the purest of honey.

Before you buy the honey

1) Avoid honey from China, they’re most often mixed with syrup or other impure substances.

2) Read the label, if it mentions any additives, put it back.

3) Ask the shop keeper if you put in the honey in the fridge, will it solidify? Pure honey won’t solidify. My maid also put pure honey in the freezer by accident once, and it didn’t freeze too.

4) Try to buy honey from a local supplier. If your city or town holds farmers markets, go to one to see what farmers have to offer.

If you’re in Saudi Arabia, get in touch with the Saudi Beekeeping Industry. They can help you locate a local beekeeper if you live outside of Riyadh and Jeddah. If you live in Riyadh, Biobest sells several varieties of organic honey. Tamimi on King Fahd Road also sells Organic Raw Manuka Honey. It’s pretty pricy at 150 SAR for 200ml, but worthwhile if you’re using honey as a healing product.

If you live in Jeddah, Abazeer and Danube will both have organic unadulterated honey. Abazeer sells honey that is produced on its own farm. After having witnessed the honey bees working their magic and meeting the owner recently, Abazeer is one company we can trust. Finally, Watania is another organic producer that you can check for pure honey. They have stores in most major cities.

The Honey Show is also an event where you can meet both local and international bee producers. This annual event is held for beekeepers to discuss problems and promote their bee products. The Honey Show 2013 is held from the 21st -27th June 2013 in Baha Province. For further details, click
here.

5) Pure honey has the strongest scent. It’s difficult to explain this one unless you’re used to what honey bees smell like. We have two beehives in Riyadh and they smell amazing!

After you’ve brought the honey

1) The Dissolving Test – Observe how liquid honey comes down into a glass of water. Pure honey does not immediately dissolve in water; you will notice that it takes a little effort to stir it in the water to dissolve the lumpy bits, whereas honey mixed with sugar tends to dissolve easily. If it is pure, the honey will stick together and sink as a solid lump to the bottom of the glass.

(However, test result are sometimes not that clear because different honey varieties have different viscosity, some are denser and thicker than others.)

2) The Flame Test – Get a matchstick and dip the head in honey for about 2 seconds. Next, try to ignite it from the matchbox. If it ignites, the honey is not mixed with impure substances.

OR

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 the honey, and shake off any excess.
Attempt to light the wick. If it burns, then it is 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 it again but using more honey.)

3) The Absorption Test – Put a drop of honey on sandy ground. If it is 100% honey, the sand will not absorb it. You can even get a piece of stick and try to roll it on ground, you will notice that it moves on the ground like a ball.

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

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

I hope these tips are helpful for you! Don’t be fooled and don’t let companies fool you into buying impure honey.

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4 responses to “How to Check the Purity of Honey

  1. hi,

    How about the regular honeys that are on supermarket shelves other than the ones that come from China? Like the German brand Langnese (I’m not sure if it is the right spelling) and for example the Saudi honey ALshifaa brand?

    Are these pure honeys? And are these raw?

    • I have not brought or tested Langnese or Al Shiffa honey. I don’t think these honeys are raw but next time I go to a supermarket, I will check.

    • hi Khaled,

      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you.
      Unfortunately I am not sure where to get raw honey in Mecca or Medina. Please ask the people at Saudi Beekeeping Industry for a list of bee keepers in your province. http://www.saudibi.com/?page_id=115

      Sorry for not being more helpful at this time.

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

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