Honey is one of nature’s sweetest gifts. It is also one of nature’s purest foods. Nutritionists call it a “functional food,” meaning it is all natural and has numerous health benefits. In fact, raw (unpasteurized, or never heated beyond the temperature of the beehive) honey contains a whopping 22 amino acids, 27 minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and even selenium. It is rich in vitamins as well like vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.
And if you are looking for some nutritional digestive enzymes, honey has many including diastase, invertase, catalase, glucose oxidase, acid phosphatase, and inulase. Honey is also rich in antioxidants.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, not really. Not all honey is the same.
In fact, most of the honey you buy at your local supermarket is not any healthier than white sugar, especially cheap honey. And much of it is likely manufactured in China where regulations on health and safety are in many cases, non-existent.
According to the FDA, the food safety divisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EU) as well as numerous other regulating bodies, in order for honey to be considered REAL, it must contain pollen.
Without the presence of pollen, the FDA cannot conclude whether the honey is from legitimate and/or safe sources.
100 percent of the honey sold at drugstores and those packaged in the single serving portions served at restaurants, had no pollen at all.
The study did show that if you choose to buy an organic brand from your local supermarket, only 29 percent of these are lacking pollen so it is a much safer bet, but it is still a gamble.
For the average consumer, however, buying honey can be confusing because we have been led to believe honey is good. And in the case of raw honey that still holds true but the “fake” honey lining the supermarket shelves is anything but good. Luckily, there are some easy ways to avoid spending your money on this counterfeit honey
How to recognize cheap, fake honey
*Always read the label. If it contains added glucose or high fructose corn syrup, it is not real honey.
*Put a small drop of your honey on your thumb. If it spreads it is not pure since pure honey will stay in one place
*If your honey does not “crystallize” over time, it is likely fake since pure honey will crystallize when you keep in your fridge or over time.
*Add a few drops of vinegar into a mixture of water and honey. If it foams up, your honey has been adulterated with plaster.
*Place a dab of honey on the end of a matchstick and light it. If it ignites, it is pure.
*Place a spoon of honey in a glass of water. If it dissolves it is fake. Pure honey will not dissolve in water and will sink to the bottom of the glass.
*Add a few drops of iodine to a glass of water and then add some honey. If your honey turns blue, it has been combined with corn starch and is not real honey.
*Taste your honey. If you can taste things like flowers or herbs it’s real honey. Fake honey is just sweet, with a bit of “honey-like” flavor.