Honey is a very useful food that we consume frequently. So how do we decide what honey to buy? Do we know what to take into account when buying honey? It is not possible to understand the reality of honey from its taste, color, smell, or fluidity. The taste and aroma of honey vary depending on its origin and the type of plant it is produced from. The color of honey can vary from water white to dark amber color. In this article, I have examined some issues that should be considered while purchasing honey, and I have provided some information on the subject that will be particularly useful in the context of education of the consumer segment.
When buying honey, you should definitely prefer branded and labeled products. Unpackaged honey is unreliable. Moreover, avoid brands that do not share honey analysis reports. Whether honey is natural can only be understood by analyzing all its compositions in a laboratory where technical equipment is sufficient. Finally, make sure to buy extracted honey instead of comb honey. Extracted honey goes through much more analysis.
We can itemize the points to be considered while buying honey as follows:
- Stay away from cheap honey.
- Be sure to read the content section behind the honey jars.
- Know that honey does not need any preservatives. In other words, honey has no expiration date, no shelf life, as long as you keep it away from moisture, the life of honey is more than 5 thousand years.
- Stay away from very sweet honey.
- 1 teaspoon of honey to be put in a glass of hot water does not interact immediately with water; that is, it does not disperse immediately in the water.
- Real honey crystallizes and freezes, but that doesn’t mean that every frozen honey is real honey. To understand this, you can get the most accurate information by consulting a good honey gourmet.
- True, pure honey is fireproof and does not burn easily.
- Also, if the taste remains in your palate for 15-20 seconds after eating the honey, that honey is real honey. Pay attention to this.
Useful Facts to Decide What Honey Should You Buy
I will give you some tips about buying honey which we know with its positive effects on health, but which also causes questions in our minds when purchasing due to the news about fake honey. There is a great deal of information pollution about honey in public. It is extremely important for me to be able to accurately describe the honey, which is a miracle of nature, and to remove the question marks in mind. Here are some useful facts about honey shopping:
- Crystallization of honey doesn’t indicate it is fake
It is the frozen and crystallized form of honey, which is expressed as “candied” among the people. It is very normal for pasteurized and unfiltered raw honey to crystallize a few months after harvest. By the nature of honey, it contains glucose and fructose. While the rate of glucose in flower honey is high, the rate of fructose in chestnut honey is higher. Therefore, chestnut honey crystallize later, while flower honey crystallizes faster. Parsley honey begins to freeze before it enters jars, while sage honey can remain uncrystallized for years. That is, the crystallization of honey is not about fraud, but of the flora of the plant from which honey is produced.
- Honeycomb honey is not more natural than extracted honey
There is no difference in terms of nutritional values between honeycomb and extracted honey. The only reason we see more extracted honey on the shelves is that its analysis is easier. It is an impossible operation for honey packers to take and analyze samples from each of these combs which they did not produce. For this reason, they offer the extracted honey, which they can analyze more easily. The extracted honey analysis is done after taking a homogeneous mixture by taking some amount from each can. This is a more controllable and suitable process for mass production. Consumers should know that the honey that has been checked and analyzed being comb or extracted honey is not a determining criterion for the genuineness of the honey. The shape of the honey is entirely up to the taste of the person.
- Open honey is unreliable
There is a very wrong belief that honey sold in the open is more natural. Even honey that is bought from beekeepers you know and trust can contain highly harmful residues for health, such as antibiotics, pesticides, and naphthalene. Beekeepers may have sprayed unconsciously to protect against bee diseases such as varroa and baby rot. Even in very sincere and honest productions, surprise results can arise from the lack of information. It should not be forgotten that the honey sold in the open is honey that has not been checked and inspected and has no laboratory tests.
- Labeled, branded honey should be preferred
It is very important that the honey we consume is labeled. Brand, logo, name of the product, type of honey should be on the label in a size that can be read. The most important thing to look for in the labels is the business registration number provided by the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, the batch number, filling date, and recommended consumption date should be sought in the labels. The information and address of the filling facility should also be clearly stated. It is also mandatory to include the address and contact information of the manufacturer. Although checking the label information is a very important measure to eat real honey, unfortunately, this alone is not enough.
- Do not prefer businesses that do not share honey analysis reports
Whether honey is natural can only be understood by analyzing all its compositions in a laboratory where technical equipment is sufficient. In these analyzes, all criteria such as the number of diastasis, humidity, acidity degree, and amount of HMF are examined. But the most important criterion in real honey is the amount of proline. The amount of proline is the value that indicates the pollen density in honey. Proline is found only in honey, and it is not possible to achieve it externally. Therefore, the most important criterion showing the purity and quality of honey is the amount of proline. According to the regulations, the amount of proline in honey should be at least 300 mg/kg. In other words, if your honey’s proline value is below 300 mg/kg, you are consuming counterfeit honey that does not comply with the ministry control requirements. The only way to understand this is to query the honey’s analysis reports before purchasing.
Most Important Things to Pay Attention When Buying Honey
The hygiene and high quality of the food we consume are very important for our health. Since food products are easy to access today, a reliable and systematic control mechanism is needed. However, the problem of unhealthy products, which are launched in many parts of the world, has now reached a level exceeding the limits and has started to pose enormous dangers in terms of public health. For this reason, some experts state that the correct selection of foodstuffs is a new branch of art today since it requires almost a great skill.
In this context, it is very important to make the right consumer choices and to know certain properties of the purchased product, especially in the world where honey has been experiencing problems in recent years and people’s confidence in honey has decreased. Because while the tricks detected in the honey amaze the consumers, the fraudsters continue to deceive the consumers with unimaginable methods and play in a way with human health. Here are some things to consider when buying honey:
Careful examination of the label information of honey is of great importance for consumer protection. At this stage, the duty of the consumer is to pay attention to the qualification of the product on the product label and to examine what is written on the label. The properties that should be in the honey that is considered to be purchased must be compared with the label information. When buying honey with a different name but close to each other in terms of color, special attention should be paid to whether it is the product to be bought.
In many countries, information on which herbs are produced from honey such as acacia, chestnut, and thyme must be written on the labels. In fact, if it is produced by feeding with sugar syrup in some countries, it must be written that there is syrup honey on the label. In order to obtain information about the composition of the product, the list of “ingredients” or “composition” on the label, and the nutritional values or the source of the herbal must be examined. Except for filtered honey and bakery honey, it should be stated with the same font that the product is honeydew or flower honey. If the botanical source of honey is certain and the honey has the sensory, physical, chemical, and microscopic features of this source, the product name should be supported by the name of the flower or plant from which it originated, such as “sunflower honey, lime honey”.
Since the smell of honey varies according to the type of plant it is produced, sunflower honey, chestnut honey, thyme honey, acacia honey, or pine honey have different colors and aromatic properties. Although dark honey types are close to each other and lighter honey types are close to each other in terms of color properties, their chemical contents and tastes will not be the same as they are of different vegetable origin. The honey labels should say ” Honey should not be fed to children under 1-year-old ”, and only the honey that should be used in the bakery field should have the phrase “for cooking purposes only” close to the product name and easily visible.
Business Registration Certificate Import Permit
The harvest year of the honey purchased, the date of production of the honey, the date of filling and packaging should be specified. The beekeeping numbers of beekeepers should be written on the honeycomb frames. It should be noted that the date and number of the production permit issued by the relevant ministry, and if the product is imported, the import permit date and number is written on the label.
In the case of purchasing honey under the name of Organic, the consumer sector should definitely question the organic product certificate and the logo indicating that the product is organic (by asking the producers or the officials of the companies that sell honey). The product without a certificate should not be purchased as an organic product.
The Recommended Consumption Date
Some processes applied to honey can change the taste and smell of honey. Storage time and conditions, humidity, processes during harvesting and filtering, and heating the honey can reduce the quality of the honey. The expiry date and shelf life on the packaging of the product should be read carefully. Products beyond the expiration date should not be purchased and the seller should be warned for such products. Such products may be spoiled, their taste and physical appearance may have changed, or their nutritional value may have been lost.
The crystallized honey usually ferment after a while. In the case of this type of deterioration is observed when the package is opened, the product should be returned. Or, even if the expiry date has not exceeded, especially in honeycomb honey that is not fully glazed, souring, deterioration, that is, fermentation can occur. Such honey should not be checked by tasting and the product should be returned. Heating or keeping it for a long time in order to prevent or delay the crystallization of the honey causes it to contain fewer enzymes or lose them completely.
Products that are not well packaged always run the risk of losing their properties. Therefore, honey with crushed, torn, spoiled, swollen, punctured, leaky, collapsed packaging should not be purchased. It is preferable to purchase the honey, which is fluent, in glass packaging, where the consumer can see better in all aspects. Since the rumors that plastic packaging causes cancer is quite common among the society, metal containers will also rust over time and some properties of honey consumed in metal containers are not known from the outside of the container, honey sold in such packages should not be preferred.
On the other hand, the packaging and labels of the honey offered for sale must comply with the relevant articles of the food regulation and must not contain any misleading information and images. Product packaging must comply with the provisions of the relevant regulation. The honey offered for sale in glass packaging must be free from foreign substances and air bubbles, and the water content should not be high since it will ferment more quickly.
When buying honey in glass packaging, honey should not be purchased with the lid opened or loose, the warranty tape is torn, the label information on the packaging has been deleted, or the label has been unreadable. In addition, there should be a business number on the honey packaging indicating the source of the raw material of the business registered in the beekeeping registration system.
All in All
Today, healthy production and control of foodstuffs have gained even more importance, in terms of food safety. However, it should not be forgotten that, in the process of an effective inspection of honey, official institutions and consumer organizations should be inspected, as well as consumers should be conscious about honey. Considering that trust in the beekeeping industry and honey sellers have been decreasing in recent years, attention should be paid to the purchase of honey from a reliable source.
The unfair earnings sector will not come to life in the face of such determination to be shown when buying honey as a conscious consumer. Prescription consisting of consciousness, responsibility, sensitivity, and action is the main medication of this critical issue. If honey is presented to consumption by any technological process such as heating, along with its very important stages such as production and storage under suitable conditions, it should absolutely comply with the relevant regulations and hygiene rules during the heating and packaging stages.
In short, if possible, branded and extracted honey should be preferred during the purchasing process and the brand should be questioned. The brand of honey purchased should be a proven, reliable brand over the years, there should be expressions that clearly indicate the product and company identity such as batch number, filling date, recommended consumption date, business registration number, company name, address, phone number issued by the relevant ministry, and it should be noted that there is a warranty band on the cover. In addition to all of these, it should be questioned whether the company producing the brand has qualified and experienced staff in the quality control system and whether they are filling in hygienic conditions.
I remind you that without hesitation, you can report and complain about the problems to be encountered with the purchased honey, beekeeping enterprises that produce unhealthy production, honey producers who play with human health and do not care about consumers, to the free lines belonging to the relevant institutions 24 hours a day.
How to Find out Whether the Honey Is Genuine or Not
As it is known, honey is a nutrient with high nutritional value that is produced when bees process their ingredients from flowers with some enzymes in their bodies. Honey created by the teamwork of flowers and bees is completely natural. Honey, which is very beneficial for the human body, is not a factory product and is a sweet beauty that nature offers us. It is also important for our health that it is natural to take advantage of the honey that comes to our tables with the miracles of bees.
Especially in recent years, fake honey incidents cause the consumer to look skeptical at honey jars. The consumers, who focus on consuming completely natural honey from the hive to the table, rightly began to ask the question: “How to understand genuine honey?”. In fact, it is impossible to understand fake or genuine honey at a glance. There are important details you need to know about this.
Real honey is a food item that contains no additives and is obtained by analyzing and packing the taste produced by bees in hives. In other words, the only source of genuine honey is nature, and it does not contain any additives. Of course, it is unnatural, and namely false honey, to give the bees sugar syrup without letting them collecting nectar from the flowers, to add the honey enzyme to the sugar syrup, or to mix some fake honey with real honey and increase the amount.
Fake or Real: Honey Analysis Stages
The reality of honey cannot be understood from its taste, smell, or appearance. The mentioned criteria can be decisive; but in this way, the final conclusion cannot be reached. The only safe method to find out if honey is fake is to perform analysis in the lab. The naturalness and purity of the honey analyzed in the Research and Quality Control Laboratories can be proved 100%. For this, you should buy the packaged honey of brands with an accredited laboratory.
As we have already mentioned, whether there is cheating in honey is not clear from the taste, smell, or appearance of honey. The only safe method to be carried out in this regard is to conduct analysis in the Research and Quality Control Laboratories. Thanks to the analyzes carried out in accredited laboratories, the content and naturalness of honey can be learned precisely. For this reason, the honey taken from the comb must be filtered and definitely passed through the analysis phase.
Within the scope of the analysis, firstly, whether or not honey is real is examined. Many features of honey from conductivity to sugar structure are the subject of study. It is determined whether the honey analyzed sensually is compatible with the chemical results. With all these steps, their analysis is carried out. To determine the originality of the honey, the pollen analysis is made and the flowers from which the bee gets nectar are determined. For all these analyzes, it is necessary to have a laboratory at international standards with an expert and experienced team in honey.
Tips to Distinguish Genuine Honey From Fake
Known as one of the most miraculous foods of nature, honey is a source of healing for many diseases and adds flavor to breakfasts and sweets. However, fake honey with additives, whose production has become widespread recently, seriously threaten human health. Here are the tricks to distinguish genuine honey from the fake:
You should pay attention to the inscription “suitable for honey codex” on the honey jars/packages in the markets. In addition, if there are substances such as glucose, glucose syrup, fructose syrup, sugar in the ingredients, you can understand that honey is added.
If you have observed that the honey you bought has crystallized starting from the bottom of the jar as you wait, we can say that it is unlikely to be fake. It is known that real honey, which has been waiting for 30 days in the refrigerator, almost reaches the consistency of butter.
The color of fake honey often appears lighter than real honey. It would be a good choice not to buy light honey. However, not every dark honey is real honey. Fake honey producers can add a number of additives to make fake honey darker.
There is no smell of real honey. If you smell the honey, it can be said to be additive. However, not every fragrant honey is genuine. Producers can also suppress the smell of fake honey with a number of ingredients.
It is known that when you spoon the real honey, it lengthens for a while. If you can put it directly on the spoon, it can be said that honey is fake.
- Warm Water Experiment
Put 1 tablespoon of the honey you will try in warm water and let it wait. If the honey is real, it will remain as you left it and if it has additives it will dissolve.
- Paper Towel Experiment
If it is absorbed by the towel when you put 1 tablespoon of honey on the paper towel, it can be said to be added.
- Combustion Test
If it burns when you dip a piece of cotton wrapped in a skewer into honey and put it on fire, it is likely to be true honey.
Although the above methods are the most commonly used methods to distinguish between real and fake honey, the most reliable method will be to have the honey analyzed by food engineers.
What to Consider When Buying Honeycomb Honey
I will tell you about whether you should buy comb honey or extracted honey. Most importantly, I will tell you what to look out for when buying honeycomb honey. After reading this article, you can buy comb honey with peace of mind.
Eating comb honey has no benefit apart from the taste of the honey. On the contrary, a national fortune is lost. Because bees have to consume 10 kg of honey to produce 1 kg of comb honey. Therefore, the comb honey is more expensive than extracted honey. 50 g of wax in the 1 kg honeycomb you eat is actually worth 500 g of honey, and for this, we actually pay for 1.5 kg of honey while getting 1 kg of honey. Also, what we pay attention to when buying comb honey is that it should not be black and every eye is covered with wax. It’s such a bad habit. Oh, if you knew the reason for the blackness in those black waxes that you did not like.
Bees also use the honeycomb eyes, where they store honey, to lay their eggs. However, before the bees lay eggs in the honeycomb eye, they sterilize the honeycomb eye with a thin layer of propolis in micron thickness and lay the egg like that. I seem to hear you ask “What is Propolis?”. Propolis is a dark brown bee product used by bees to provide sterilization in the hive and cover the places that come with light and cold. The name of propolis, which bees produce with the essence they receive from flowers, has been heard quite frequently lately and many scientific studies are being done about it.
As a result of the researches, it has been observed that propolis has a high rate of antioxidant properties, is rich in flavonoids and has effects on cancer cells. But I wanted to touch on to explain why the honeycombs are black. As a result, the fact that those black honeycombs that we do not like, are black because of the fact that the bees had previously hatched on that honeycomb and that they cleaned with propolis before the hatch. The more eggs are laid in a frame, the more black it becomes. The darker it gets, the healthier it becomes.
And even though it is not a very accurate opinion, I always skeptically approach the honey which is covered with a glaze candle to the bottom of the eyes, which is completely white, from top to bottom. Because in order for a honeycomb to be completely covered with a white glaze wax, it is necessary to be an extremely great season to bring the honey to the hive and fill all the honeycomb frames. Or they might have given the bees sugar syrup to ensure that all eyes are filled. In such cases, I keep the probability that the second situation will occur.
This does not mean that the honey with white honeycombs, which are filled from top to bottom, are fake, but honey that is filled up to half, glazed from the bottom to the middle and slightly empty, is less likely to be false than the other. Because, if the bee was already given sugar, the bee would fill that honey, meaning that the beekeeper, who could not find anything to take from nature, did not intervene to complete the honeycomb and did not give sugar to the bee, and the honeycomb remained empty. As a result, do not forget to buy honey from people you trust, no matter where you buy honey.
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