How to Differentiate a Pure Honey From an Impure One


As a consumer, you pay for a pure honey and not an impure one. In the market, impure and adulterated honey are rampant nowadays. You may accidentally buy an impure one from the market. To avoid buying impure honey, you must know some methods of testing.

The following are tests that you may perform to check the purity of honey:-

i. Hexagon shape test

Put a drop of honey on a flat plate. Put a drop of water on top of it just enough to cover the honey. Shake the plate horizontally in circular direction. A pure honey will show hexagon shape like that of honeycomb after a while.

ii. Rubbing hand test

Pour honey on your fingers. Try to use a piece of dry cloth to clean it. If it is pure, your finger can be cleaned totally. Your fingers will remain sticky if it is impure.

iii. Water dissolving test

Drop a teaspoon of honey into a glass of water. Observe how it sinks into the bottom of the water. If it is pure, it will not dissolve and will go all the way down to the bottom of the glass. It needs some time to dissolve in the water. If it is impure, it will dissolve once it enters the water.

iv. Flame test

Dip a cotton bud with honey. Try to burn the cotton bud using a lighter. If it burns, then it is an impure honey; otherwise it is pure. Real honey does not burn.

Or you dip the active tip of a match into honey. Try to scratch the active tip of the match to light it up. If it is a pure one, it can be lit up. It cannot be lit up if it is impure. The impure one will wet the active tip of the match thus making it not burn.

v. Appearance

If honey crystallizes, it is a pure honey. Unfortunately, there is common misconception that crystallization is a proof of adulteration of sugar. The fact is the other way round.

vi. Absorption test

Put a drop of honey on a piece of paper. Observe overleaf of the paper. If it shows sign of absorption, the honey is not pure.

vii. Writing test

Dip the point of a pen in honey and try to write on a piece of paper. If you can write, then it is pure; otherwise it is adulterated with artificial sugars.

viii. Sand test

Drop a small drip of honey on sand. If the honey scatters, it is not a pure one. A pure one will remain intact and hold together.

Beside the above home tests, you may send your honey for scientific laboratory tests. The following are two common laboratory tests:-

a. Spectroscopy

It uses principle of interaction between light and matter to differentiate substances in honey like sucrose and fructose.

b. Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis

This test is used to determine whether a certain sugar is added.

When you purchase honey, it is important and imperative that you check its container label whether additives and other substances are present. “Pure honey” may mean the container contains pure honey plus other substances. The wise way is to go for reliable brands or suppliers. Buying honey in honeycombs is one way to make sure you get a pure one.


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