How To Test Honey Purity: Fake, Real vs. Raw Honey

Did you know that there is real honey and fake honey? Without knowing how to check the purity of honey, it will be difficult to tell and identify the difference.

You can do this at home, but how? Here’s a guide on how to test the purity of honey at home using simple tests.

Without distinguishing the difference between pure and fake honey, you will end up buying bad products. There is a lot of adulteration of honey, which makes it not real yet sold as the real thing.

In 2001, the American FTC imposed stiff tariffs on what we know as Chinese honey as an aftermath of the scandals to do with cheap adulterated Chinese honey on American food markets. So, what is pure honey?

What is Pure, Real Honey?

As you would expect, real honey should not come from a factory but from bees. The most common references to real and pure honey are organic and natural honey. It is not an easy task to know that this or that is fake or real.

You will need tests to distinguish between the two since it has been found that most of the products you see in stores are not really the organic product you are looking for.

What is Fake Honey?

On the other hand, what you are likely to be consuming could be fake honey.

So, what is fake honey? Well, also called adulterated, impure, or artificial honey, fake honey is one that has added sugar syrups, molasses, corn syrup, dextrose, and other flavors and additives.

In one of the tests postulated by GHgeochem, it is suggested that “If a pure honey has been adulterated with corn syrup, the isotope ratio will fall some way between the two values and hence adulteration will have been proved.”

This clearly proves that most of the honey products that are claimed to be pure have corn syrup added to them.

How to Test Purity of Honey

From determining the isotopic composition in laboratories to testing for pure honey at home, there are quite a number of methods you can use to determine or know if honey is fake or pure.

In this section, we will describe simple tests to help you distinguish what is organic from nectar and what is not to help you know identify falsified honey.

The Stable Carbon Isotope Analysis

One of the commonly used methods to test the purity of honey is the carbon isotope test. The process is complex and may be used at an industry level for people who want to sell in large quantities.

However, if you want to know how to check the purity of honey at home, use the methods described below.

In the carbon isotope analysis method, the FlashEA Elemental Analyzer or the DELTA V Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer methods are used. See the method here.

Simple properties such as thickness can easily tell if honey is fake or real. In fact, one of the ways to check the purity of honey is to look at its density or thickness.

Pure honey is visibly thick and will take noticeable time to move from one side of a container to another while fake honey will simply run, though not as quickly as water does.

How to Check 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. So do you know know how to check the purity of honey at home? It is simple.

In a nutshell, the four commonly used methods to check the purity of honey on a small scale are:

  1. The Thumb Test
  2. The Water Test
  3. The Flame Test, and
  4. The Water-vinegar mix Test

I have described each of these methods in detail here below.

Thumb Test

The procedure to do a thumb test to test pure honey is:

  1. Put a small drop of the honey you have on your thumb
  2. Check to see if it spills or spreads around
  3. If it does, it is not pure
  4. Pure honey will stay intact on your thumb

The Water Test to Spot Fake Honey

The procedure to do the water test to determine fake honey is:

  1. Fill a glass with water
  2. Add one tablespoon of honey into the glass
  3. Adulterated or artificial honey will dissolve in water and you will see it around the glass
  4. Pure honey on the other hand will settle right at the bottom of your glass

The Flame Test to Check Purity of Honey

Did you know that organic honey is flammable? Here below is the test to know 100% pure organic honey. The flame test procedure for determining honey purity is:

  1. Take a dry matchstick
  2. Dip its tip right into the honey
  3. Strike the stick on the matchbox as if to light it
  4. If the honey is pure, the matchstick will light with ease
  5. The flame will also keep burning off the honey
  6. However, if it is with impurities, it will not light because fake honey contains moisture as one of the impurities

These are some of the simple and common ways to test pure honey at home.

Another common method to tell the difference is:

  1. Add some water
  2. Then add 2-3 drops of vinegar essence into the honey
  3. Mix well.
  4. Observe for about 2 to 3 minutes
  5.  If the solution becomes foamy, that is definitely adulterated honey.

How to Tell the Difference between Pure and Fake Honey

By examining the physical qualities of honey, it is very easy to know whether this is pure or impure honey. Below are some of the main differences in properties that will help you distinguish between real and unreal things.

It is very easy to notice the impurities although this may require some practice first. These differences will help you know how to identify fake honey, or how to tell if honey is pure and real.

Fake Honey PropertiesPure Honey Properties
FoamsDoes not foam under any circumstance
Impure honey is runny and will drip easilyIs quite thick and only trickles in a stream
Will have a rough texture and clumpsSoft texture – think filament-like
Separates easily into layersNever separates into layers
May smell sour, or have no smellHas the aroma of honey

Without knowing how to check pure honey, it is easy to fall for any product that does not have the real qualities you are looking for.

As most of us may not be knowing yet, artificial honey is one of those foods with so many side effects and shortcomings. It is normally a synthetic preparation that results in faster absorption in the body.

External Links on Homemade Honey Purity Tests

  1. YouTube: Purity of Honey: Check by Flame & Water.
  2. YouTube: How to Test if Honey is Pure.

READ MORE: What kind of honey is safe for pregnancy?