Yes, we have all heard of how healthy honey is; after all, it is the elixir of life. Not surprisingly, not many knows the exact benefits of honey, much more how to distinguish pure honey from adulterated honey. So, here goes..
First. We understand that you already know that honey could even come in many varieties, right? Like floral, fruity, smokey, woody, spicy or earthy — all depending on the source of its nectar. Also, that honey could be clear to as dark as molasses in its appearance — yet with all these, don’t be surprised if some of them smells fresh while others are even pungent! Bottom line is, you could only get the full benefits of honey if it’s pure. Thus, if the supermarket is your only access to honey, at least make sure to examine its physical qualities before buying them. How?
- Real honey has some small particles suspended within it while the fake ones do not.
- Real honey is thick and dense while fake honey is thin and runny.
- Check the label. Real honey contains only one ingredient — honey.
NUTRIENTS. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium while the vitamins in honey include vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.
BENEFITS. Boosts energy. Reduces muscle fatigue. Regulates blood sugar. Treats cough and sore throat. Heals (surgical) wounds, cuts, minor burns and ulcers. Protects from infection, odor and pus. Reduces acid production in the mouth for better oral health. Helps with insomnia. Good moisturizer and treats skin fungus. Reduces and controls weight. Improves appetite and digestion. Relieves constipation, diarrhea and dysentery. Helps kidneys function better. Aids in blood cleansing as well as in its regulation and circulation.
STORAGE. Not in cans but glass jars or plastic containers. Do not expose to sunlight, near heat or inside the fridge but in a cool, dry place where temperature is stable.
EXPIRY. Because of its unique composition and chemical properties, honey could be preserved long term — like, decades or even centuries. The key to preservation is limiting its access to humidity; if honey is exposed to moist air, fermentation could begin and eventually ‘damage’ the honey.
AUTHENTICITY. It is but common sense that if we really want pure honey, it would be best if we just get it straight from a bee farm — then again, how many actually has the time and proximity to do that? And so, this would leave us with almost no choice but to buy from the sidewalk or just blindly trust supermarket displays wherein most are not really concerned about our health but only our money.
TESTING. Now while we could physically examine honey in supermarkets, such scrutiny only gives us a clue to its purity — nothing else. Especially in cases like this, facts could only be verified through actual testing. Unfortunately, many times that testing would not be possible in supermarkets since honey here is sealed or totally wrapped — and determining prices does not mean anything to its purity! Therefore, you would only know about its authenticity once you have bought the honey and tested it at home.
- Water Test. Fill a glass with water. Add a tablespoon of honey. Pure honey settles at the bottom of your glass while adulterated honey will dissolve in water because of its sugar content.
- Flame Test. Dab some honey on a piece of cotton. Light it up with a matchstick. Pure honey would burn while adulterated honey would not light up because of its water content.
- Finger Test. Put a small drop of honey on your fingernail. Pure honey stays put longer while adulterated honey would easily drip down your finger.
- Bread Test. Apply some honey on a slice of bread. Pure honey hardens the bread in minutes while adulterated honey would make the bread ‘soggy’ because of its moisture content.
- Stickiness Test. Rub some honey between your fingers. Pure honey is not sticky while adulterated honey would be sticky because of its added sweeteners.
- Absorption Test. Pour a few drops of honey on blotting paper. Pure honey does not get absorbed in blotting paper which has the opposite effect on adulterated honey. Also, if you pour pure honey on a white cloth, it would not leave stains — unlike adulterated honey.
- Egg Yolk Test. When poured into a container with yolk alone and then mixed, the yolk would appear cooked if the honey is pure — while it does not have any effect if the honey is adulterated.
REMINDER: Honey should never be given to pregnant women or children under 1 year old. Heating honey at high temperatures would not only reduce its potency but could even produce carcinogenic effects.