Honey is popular with so many and for a multitude of reasons but, unless you know your source, you could be palmed off with fake honey.
There are six top tips that honey experts use to make sure that the honey they are eating is 100% genuine...
How to know that your honey is the real thing
Check the label. You can see from the photo here that the honey I use is LOCAL to where I live in Somerset. It is made by a small supplier with the added information on the lid that it is the all important RAW - what more could you want from HONEY? Other honey might have additional ingredients which would raise a red flag. You can find out more about labels on products and how to read them fromthis site.
There is a test you can carry out and that is the caramelization test. If you have a microwave oven, heat up a few teaspoons of honey in a suitable container on a high heat. If the honey is genuine, it will caramelize after time together with a layer of foam on the top. The fake honey on the other hand will become foamy and bubbly because of the extra ingredients that have been added.
Another test is to place a few drops of your honey on a sheet of paper - the paper test. If the honey is not pure and contains water, it will be absorbed into the paper quickly. Pure honey will just sit on the paper in a blob.
The water test. When soaked in warm or hot water, real honey will dissolve into the water, forming clumps on the bottom of the container but fake honey will just melt.
The bread and honey test. Carry out this test by spreading some of the honey onto a slice of fresh bread. Leave for some time. If the bread becomes hard, you will know your honey is 100% genuine. Non-pure honey will dampen the surface of the bread because of the high water content and finally...
The Crystallization test. With this test, you will see that real honey crystallizes after time while non-real honey will keep its liquid, syrup-like composition.
Some important facts about honey
Honey can, very occasionally, contain a spore of a bacterium called clostridium botulinum. This in turn can cause a rare form of food poisoning (botulism) in babies. Therefore honey is unsafe for children under the age of one because a younger baby’s gut is not sufficiently developed to fight off bacteria. The worry is that the condition can be fatal in 5 to 10% of cases. Absolutely no problem for those over the age of one and of course is thoroughly recommended for so many reasons.
In an earlier post, we shared how to make your honey and lemon throat lozenges. Raw honey (especially when combined with lemon and even garlic) is a good way to boost your immune system which is at the heart of our very well-being, helping us to fight off most diseases and conditions that come our way while a weakened immune system makes us very vulnerable. Holistic medicine recognizes that illness is not caused by viruses and bacteria but by weakened immune systems.
Honey and cinnamon when combined are another force to be reckoned with. Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder to spread on bread and eat it regularly for breakfast or add 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to a cup of hot water taken daily morning and evening for a delicious beverage.
Honey helps withinsomnia as a mug of hot milk with a large spoon of honey acts as a mild sedative.
It is man’s oldest sweetener. Some 50% of the human diet is derived either directly or indirectly from crops pollinated by bees which are an essential part of a healthy agriculture economy. This is why people get worried when they hear about bees suddenly dying off from a disease or from pollution. It is said that, if bees are wiped off the planet, the demise of mankind will occur within 4 to 10 years.
Which is the most expensive of all honey?
The answer would be Manuka honey from New Zealand which is used as a natural healing product both internally and topically on the skin. Beekeepers in New Zealand set up their hives in wild uncultivated areas in which Manuka bushes grow. The bees gather nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush (indigenous to New Zealand) while the honey-making process is enriched by the pollution-free environment of New Zealand. Only honey actually bottled, tested and authenticated in New Zealand can use the UMF label (standing for “unique manuka factor”). Manuka honey has a whole host of health benefits and perhaps everyone should have a least one jar in their medicine cupboard for emergencies!
Why choose raw honey?
Raw honey has been neither heated nor filtered but unless you see the term RAW on a honey label, you can assume that it's processed. Most honeys, including pure and natural ones, are treated to prevent fermentation and preserve it in a liquid state in order to keep it from crystallizing. These techniques make a product that can be more appealing to some consumers because this is what they have grown used to expecting. However, raw honey has so many more health benefits including a superior taste, extra enzymes, more antioxidants plus the ability to relieve allergies.
If you suffer from hay fever for example, eating raw honey from your local area can help to alleviate the allergy.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.