Fake honey has existed for a long time, but it’s now a big money-making business. With all the health benefits of honey coming to light recently, honey and its fake counterparts have been flying off the shelves! Where there’s demand, companies will find a way to capitalize on it.
That honey you buy at the grocery store (even the expensive ones!) may or may not be the real deal. And no, fake honey doesn’t give you the same health benefits.
False Advertising Laws
You may think that being smart and reading the labels will save you from this mistake, but that would be putting too much faith in the FDA. The Food and Drug Administration requires proper labeling, but companies find ways around it.
Most fake honey starts as real honey, but it gets ultra-filtered until there’s often not a hint of pollen in it anymore, which means, by definition, these products are not honey anymore. However, it’s still perfectly legal to call it honey.
Here are a few tests to see if you’re getting ripped off or not.
First of all, pure honey isn’t soluble, so when you’re mixing it into your hot tea, it’s not actually dissolving. When it’s hot and well-stirred though, pure honey can spread out so incredibly thinly that you can’t even tell it’s separate from the water.
- Try heating up some water and stirring in a spoonful of your honey. Once your cup cools, if there’s no honey visible in the bottom, it’s fake!
- You could also try dripping a dot of honey onto a piece of paper or a napkin. Real honey will stay there. The napkin will absorb the water out of fake honey, though, so if your dot looks wet around the edges, you’ve got yourself fake honey.
- Make yourself a peanut (or almond!) butter and honey sandwich. Put the honey on the bread, though, not on the nut butter. Just like the napkin test, the water in fake honey will seep out of it, and you’ll have a soggy sandwich. However, with real honey, your bread integrity will remain intact. Don’t let it sit too long, though, or the bread will solidify.
If you’re a fan of microwave experiments and good ol’ fire like I am, these next tests are for you! Heat it up!
- Make sure you’ve got a microwave-safe container and heat up a few spoonfuls. Microwaves use radio waves to vibrate the water molecules in food to make it hot. Fake honey’s high water content will cause it to boil, making it foam like a science-fair volcano. However, real honey also has water in it, so it might get a bit of foam on top, too.
- If you thought honey couldn’t get any better, think again! Cooking sugar turns it to caramel, and honey is sugar. Use the stove this time. Fake honey will just boil and foam, but real honey caramelizes pretty quickly.
- I saved the best for last. Dip a q-tip in your honey and light it up! Real honey burns, while fake honey’s water content is too high, and the flame won’t catch.
Have you ever put honey in the refrigerator? It’s not recommended. Honey eventually crystallizes, and putting it in the refrigerator will speed up that process. Whereas it might take a few years for honey stored in a cupboard to start forming chunky (delicious!) crystals, it will happen in a few days in the fridge. Fake honey, however, will not crystallize.
Don’t worry, you can warm up the honey in a microwave and it will turn back to regular old delicious liquid honey.