The additives put in honey can destroy the vitamin you eat. While supposed to be beneficial, you may have received food artificially due to additives. Therefore, people prefer naturally produced, pure honey. Although it is not easy for the consumer to understand this, there are various methods for this.
We can say that dark consistency honey is in its purest form. Its dark consistency distinguishes it from glucose ones. Pure honey has a mild fragrance. When you examine the color of pure honey, it should be in shades of walnut shell or similar gray. If the honey tone is very light, it is likely to contain glucose. By choosing products with the approval of the Minister of Health, you can avoid impure honey. You don’t know what’s inside of unbranded products. For this reason, you should also prefer approved products.
What Is Pure Honey
Pure honey is honey that has never been processed, has not lost its natural honey enzymes, and retains its value since it does not lose its pollen. In other words, it is the honey produced without interfering with the bees. Apart from the availability of additives, there are two main factors that determine the purity of honey: heat and texture.
The technical definition of pure honey means it is not heated. So what does this mean? To understand this, first of all, it is necessary to understand what is in a beehive. When honey bees are at work, their collective body temperature rises, and eventually, they warm up their workplaces – that is, honey. The temperature of an active bucket is about 35 ºC, and honey remains stable and ‘alive’ at this temperature – more precisely, the enzymes that give honey its nutritional quality remain alive. As long as the temperature of the honey does not exceed 35 ºC, the honey is not pasteurized and remains pure. This pure honey is still in raw condition unless the honey is heated enough to exceed the heat of the hive.
Heat treatment of foodstuffs from 60 ° C to 100 ° C is called pasteurization. With the pasteurization process, the microorganisms and enzymes found in foodstuffs are killed and the shelf life of the foodstuff is extended. The reason for pasteurization in honey is completely different from other foodstuffs. Honey is pasteurized in order to eliminate the “crystallization” phenomenon, which is called saccharification among the people.
When people are looking for pure honey, they usually prefer jars that look opaque and have black dots inside. When they open the jar, they hope they will find almost solid, sandy, and pasty honey. But honey with these properties can contain anything potential from a hive: honey, beeswax, pollen, bee resin, royal jelly, and even bee itself. Are those black dots? They may have relationships with the bees’ legs. (But don’t worry, bees are very hygienic animals.) Many people can’t cope with this fact and have some kind of inner struggle between what they think is best for their health and what they really want to eat. But remember, being ‘pure’ is about heat, not tissue. However, it should be noted that these additional “things” in honey have their own benefits; so it is worth the money and effort spent.
Honey Extracting and Filtering Processes
When honey is taken from the honeycomb using a centrifuge, it leaves a large amount of wax behind. After most of the honey is filtered, small pieces of wax are also removed. This process is called filtering, and the resulting product is pure honey. This is the clean, golden-colored liquid found in jars labeled ‘pure honey’. Unless the honey is heated enough to exceed the heat of the hive, this pure honey is still raw.
The removal of solid particles in the natural structure of honey such as bee pollen from honey is called filtration. There is another process that looks quite similar on the surface, but is quite different and reduces the health benefits of honey: filtering. The only thing done in the process of draining honey is that wax pieces are separated from non-fluid honey using a kind of cheesecloth-like material. Pollen passes through the screen thanks to their fine structure – which is already desirable. However, filtration separates small particles like pollen from the honey and causes the honey to move away from the raw state.
Another process called pressure filtering is used in larger-scale productions and bottling honey-like soda bottles. We are talking about mega-machines that gush out honey at super speed. The problem with this process is that the temperature is generally kept high in order to facilitate working with honey; the higher the temperature, the more liquid the honey becomes. However, this process is not only for pasteurizing honey; at the same time, it guarantees that the honey is free from the elements that make honey.
Bee pollen is one of the factors that cause crystallization in honey. A detailed filtration process is performed to prevent crystallization. The enzymes of the substance obtained by pasteurizing, that is, by cooking and changing its structure, have died. The honey, which was subjected to a fine filtration in order not to crystallize, completely or partially lost the pollen in it.
Pure Honey or Organic Honey?
Some people think that pure honey and organic honey are the same things, but it is not. Organic honey is honey that does not have any chemical residue in the flowers where bees collect nectar. Simple, isn’t it? As long as bee growers control where bees go, they know that they get honey from organic flowers. But it’s always impossible to know where the bees are going; because bees can fly up to 8 kilometers to find flowers that can collect enough nectar. Therefore, experts in quality control should determine that all the flowers in a large area around the hive are organic.
There are many farmers on the market claiming that their honey is organic. They don’t have to be liars, but they can also have incredible confidence that their bees know very well where they’re going. However, the only way to really guarantee and control which flowers bees visit is to take precautions with different methods. But who is trying so hard for honey bees? Even ensuring their survival these days is so difficult.
How to Understand That Honey Is Pure
It is not possible to understand that honey is pure as a consumer. Each honey (which we think is pure) has its own taste, smell, color, and consistency according to the region where it is produced, the type of honey, and seasonal conditions. Even standard and simple analysis methods do not prevent you from obtaining a “pure honey” certificate when you produce blended honey. Detailed analysis methods, on the other hand, are very expensive and cannot be preferred everywhere except scientific studies. We know from our own bees that even the taste and color consistency of the honey we take from the same hive can differ. (We can understand the difference since we have been beekeeping since 1970) Of course, it is not easy for everyone to understand this in this detail.
However, one of the most interesting issues we encounter is that consumers who have become accustomed to standardized honey afterward can understand the difference very clearly when they eat pure honey. Without seeing how and by whom honey is produced under this information, no one can be sure that honey is pure and additive-free. Therefore, when buying honey, your preference should always be to buy directly from the producer, not the intermediaries. The little tips below can give you some insight to see if the honey you consume is pure and additive-free, but they never give clear results. However, I wanted to share my own experiences with you in 10 items.
- Pure honey has a very special and light scent. This smell is perceived more intensely when cutting honey, opening and closing the storage container.
- Pure honey has a darker consistency than glucose honey. It contains about 15% water, 25% Saccharin 35% Glucose and various minerals, salts, vitamins, and minerals.
- Pure honey is not very sweet, it has a distinctive taste, not like a thick syrup. Sugar-added honey is sweeter than real honey.
- When pure honey is placed in the mouth, a few flavors are tasted. It burns your mouth. However, there is only one flat taste in glucose honey.
- The outer appearance of pure honey is in tones of walnut shells or similar gray. Honey with glucose added will be lighter in white.
- Pure honey can be in light purple, yellow, slightly red or frosted glass colors or different shades of these colors depending on the varieties of thyme, Keven, mule, cattle tail flowers. Glucose honey is light glass and more transparent.
- When you put honey in a spoon and hold it on fire, pure honey becomes very fluid, it is durable, it burns late, and glucose honey burns quickly and becomes charred.
- When you put pure filtered honey and glucose honey on the same scale into two containers and compare their weight, the real honey is much heavier. You can test, the specific gravity of honey is about 1.36, meaning 1 liter of pure honey should come 1.36 kg. You can look at what value comes when you divide the weight of cottage honey you bought from the markets into its volume.
- The beekeeper that produces pure honey has both a completely glazed honeycomb and a partially glazed honeycomb. Consumers prefer honeycombs, which are completely glazed, as they attach importance to visuality. However, the semi-glazed honeycomb honey can be a sign of purity. Because the beekeepers who contribute, glaze the comb completely so that the combs are heavy and look beautiful. However, when producers like us come to an end when the season is over and the bees can no longer bring honey, they take the honeycombs from the hives as they are. At this stage, honey is better quality because bees will also be able to poll the flowers they normally do not prefer. Why can’t we see semi-glazed honey in the markets? Why is it all full, it is necessary to think.
After all, pure honey is a food that the bee collects from nature completely in its purest form and produces it in its stomach with its own enzymes. However, honey with glucose consists of bee absorbing the glucose-sugar sorbet placed in the beehive and turning it into honey. As can be seen from here, it is very wrong to compare real honey with added honey in terms of both price and nutritional value.
What Are the Health Benefits of Pure Honey?
In our daily diet, we consume plenty of refined sugar and even high fructose corn syrup, but unfortunately, we don’t have that much consumption when it comes to honey. However, research shows that consuming honey instead of sugar and fructose syrups has dozens of health benefits.
So what does pure honey mean? Pure honey is a pure, unfiltered, and sweet product produced by bees from nectars of flowers without pasteurizing. Many types of honey sold today are heated and filtered after being collected from the hive, ie processed honey. Unlike processed honey, pure honey still retains many nutritional values and is effective in health. This pure honey can cure many conditions ranging from low energy problems to sleep problems. It can even be said to be beneficial for those who want to lose weight. Here are 8 health benefits of pure honey:
- Provides Healthy Weight Management
There are studies showing that there is a relationship between honey consumption and weight loss. Studies by the University of San Diego have shown that using honey instead of sugar helps with weight loss and lowers blood sugar. In addition, honey has been shown to reduce the number of triglycerides in the blood. In another study, honey was found to activate hormones that suppress appetite. Therefore, honey consumption can play an effective role in the prevention of obesity.
- Resists Pollen Allergy
Pure honey contains bee pollen and they repel infections, strengthen immunity, and become a natural treatment for allergies. The ability of honey to prevent allergies stems from a process called immunotherapy. Because bees collecting pollen by walking from flower to flower, they reduce the amount of pollen in the environment and they also leave pollen in honey. As they consume this pollen mixed with honey, their sensitivity to pollen decreases, and seasonal allergies become more difficult to occur. A 2013 study showed that one gram of honey consumption per kilo reduced allergy symptoms in eight weeks. Some individuals state that consuming a tablespoon of daily honey is extremely effective against allergies, but due to the fact that pasteurized honey is pollen-free, it does not have much effect.
- A Natural Energy Source
Pure honey contains 80% natural sugars, 18% water, 2% proteins, pollen, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, it can be said that honey is a natural fuel. Honey, which makes it possible to absorb energy in the form of glycogen, is an ideal source of energy in the morning. Memphis University states that the best carbohydrate to be consumed before sports is honey. In some other studies, the best thing to compete with glucose in commercial energy gels is honey.
- A good antioxidant
Studies show that consuming pure honey daily can increase the number of antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants fight against free radicals that cause diseases in the body, as well as protect the body by strengthening the immune system. Honey contains polyphenols, and they are among the antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. In one study, 25 subjects were given 4 tablespoons daily for 29 days, and in the blood tests performed at the beginning and end of the study, the researchers found a direct link between the consumption of honey and the number of polyphenols in the blood.
- Improves Sleep
Pure honey has properties that make sleep better. When you consume honey before going to sleep, you increase the liver’s glycogen stock, and you can prevent the brain from entering the crisis to look for fuel. Because many nights sleeps are divided because of this fuel need. In addition, consumption of pure honey increases the release of melatonin and thus improves sleep. In addition to providing sleep, melatonin strengthens the immune system and allows tissues to be rebuilt during rest. Poor sleep is seen as a risk factor for high blood pressure, obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis.
- Heals Wounds and Ulcers
It is known that bandages wrapped in honey are good for wounds. The reason for this is that honey is a natural anti-bacterial. In addition, honey works together with body fluids to produce hydrogen peroxide, which creates an unfavorable environment for bacteria. In the treatment of wounds and burns, honey is usually applied directly to the problem area and refreshed every 24 hours. It is known that honey consumption is also effective in various types of ulcers.
- Good for Diabetes
Pure honey consumption may interfere with diabetes development and may also be good for diabetics. Especially the consumption of pure honey and cinnamon makes blood sugar management easier. A study in Dubai found that honey increases glucose levels in the blood quite less than dextrose and sucrose. Some experts say that the structure of cinnamon that increases insulin may prevent honey from increasing glucose and this is a very good pair. Pure honey increases insulin and reduces hyperglycemia. By doing an experiment, you can see the effects of pure honey on your blood sugar.
- A natural cough syrup
It has been seen that pure honey can perform an effective cough treatment as well as cough syrups. Scientific evidence has shown that a dose of honey reduces sputum production and cough.
- Pure Honey Nutritional Values
Honey is one of the purest nutrients in nature, and it’s more than just a natural sweetener. This functional food contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, 5000 enzymes. These minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium, while vitamins include vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. In addition, honey can neutralize the damaging activities of free radicals. A tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, but its glycemic load is lower than a banana. Pure honey does not cause any increase in sugar or excessive release of insulin.
Methods to Detect Impure Honey
Real honey is produced by the bees collecting the flower nectar and without any external intervention. It is not possible to understand the quality of honey (whether it is fraudulent or whether it contains drug residues) only from the taste, smell, or appearance of honey. The quality of honey can only be understood by analyzing its structure by some special laboratory methods and by experts.
We do not know exactly when and how honey, which is a natural, useful, and sweet food, was discovered, but we know that bees have been around for 30 million years and have been making honey ever since. Bees vomit the honeycomb eyes in the hive after they chemically change their nectar (plant extract), which they swallow from the flowers, fruit buds, or the secretions of insects living on the trunk of some trees, thanks to the invertase enzyme in their organs called the honey stomach. While converting the nectar into honey, there is a loss of water to prevent fermentation, and thanks to the invertase enzyme, sucrose turns into simple sugars in the form of fructose and glucose. Honey, which is placed in the eyes of the hive and covered with a thin membrane, reaches the taste and consistency that we know by maturing thanks to the special ventilation system provided by the bees flap.
The amount of honey obtained from nectar in flowers varies depending on the sugar concentrate of that nectar. Honey, the raw material of which is nectar, is classified as flower honey and honeydew honey according to its source, as well as honeycomb honey, strained honey, and press honey depending on its form. Nectar of flower honey comes from flowers. Linden honey, clover honey, citrus honey, and highland honey are known as the most important flower honey varieties. The nectar of the honeydew honey is obtained by the bees collecting the liquid secreted by some sucking insects from the tree trunks or leaves. According to the plant source, there are varieties such as pine honey, oak honey, fir honey, and leaf honey.
The differences between the colors, sugar balances, and tastes of honey are caused by the collected nectars. It gives the fragrance of honey and flavored volatile oil that provides the scent in the flowers. The properties of honey vary according to the season, the plant where the honey is obtained, the flowers, the region, and even the type of the bees. Therefore, a honey standard cannot be mentioned in terms of its consistency, fluidity, flavor, and taste. Honey is a sweet food because of the sugar it contains. In the essence of honey, 15 sugar molecules were identified, mainly fructose (34%), sucrose (2%) and levulose (fruit sugar, 40%). These sugars in the composition of honey turn into energy that can be used immediately at the time of consumption. 17% of honey consists of water and the remaining 7% consists of iron, sodium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, pollen, manganese, aluminum, strength, albumin, nitrogen, protein, and various acids. In addition to minerals, sugars, and many vitamins (groups B and C), honey also contains a number of hormones, zinc, copper, and iodine.
Pure Honey Does Not Degrade, but Can Crystallize
As a result of the honey becoming saturated in terms of glucose ratio, the natural sugar molecules in its content can crystallize over time, especially in winter, and when stored at around 14ºC. This situation is sometimes interpreted as a sugar syrup added to honey. However, fake honey with added sugar syrup does not crystallize as it does not contain natural extracts. The crystallized natural honey returns to its former consistency when heated in a container filled with water, without being directly in contact with water, at a temperature not exceeding 45 ° C. It is stated that consuming crystallized honey has no health problems.
Real honey is produced only by bees and contains whatever is good in nature. However, manufacturers can sometimes resort to medicines to fight pests and diseases. Unconscious drug use causes chemical residues in the honey produced to exceed world standards. Sometimes, there may be products offered for sale by mixing pine honey or another honeydew in flower honey. The consumer thinks he’s buying pure flower honey, but he actually buys mixed honey. To understand whether honey is pure flower honey or mixed honey, a spoonful of honey is dissolved in a little water and a little alcohol is added on it. No turbidity occurs in the water with pure flower honey. In mixed honey, white deposits are formed in the consistency of egg white. This honey is not fake, it is considered only mixed but still natural honey. Counterfeit honey is a completely fraudulent product that is compared to honey using natural ingredients and is marketed and intended to deceive the consumer.
What is expressed as sugar honey among the people is the honey produced by the bee obtaining the honey not from the nectar it receives from the flowers, but from the sugar syrup put in front of the bucket, which actually does not provide any benefit to the consumer since it does not contain any honey extract. Fake honey is produced by adding aroma, honey enzyme, and dye to sugar syrups. All these applications go into forgery of honey and cannot be sold under the name of natural honey. It is clearly stated in the regulations that no additives can be added to honey and that honey can not contain any substances that threaten human health.
Experts state that it is not possible to distinguish real honey from fake by looking at its texture and color, smelling, and even tasting it. It is especially emphasized that an internationally recognized laboratory analysis is the only way to find out if honey is fraudulent or if it contains harmful chemicals. Today, spectroscopic methods (IR, FT-Raman, NMR, SNIF-NMR, UV-VIS), isotopic methods (IRMS, SCIRA), chromatographic methods (TLC, HPLC, GC), electrophoretic method, viscosity and trace element analysis, atomic absorption, analysis methods such as sodium/potassium ratio determination, pollen, and proline analysis, scanning differential calorimeter (DSC), turbidimeter and colorimeter methods are used in the detection of fake honey. One of the most widely used methods is carbon isotope 13C / 12C ratio analysis.
Carbon Isotope Analysis Method in Detection of Impure Honey
Carbon atoms exist in nature in three different isotopes. Of these, carbon 12 (12C) isotope is 98.93% in nature, carbon 13 (13C) is 1.07%, and carbon 14 (14C is radioactive) is only 0.0000000001%. Analysis with 14C isotope, with a half-life of 5730 years, is a method frequently used in carbon age determination analysis in geography and biology. The technique used in the detection of false honey is based on the differences in isotope ratio between C3 and C4 naturally found in plants as a result of photosynthesis. Plants such as corn and sugar cane, which are the main sources of unhealthy sugar syrups used in fraudulent honey, use the C4 metabolic carbon cycle during photosynthesis, whereas the plants where honey collect nectars use the C3 metabolic cycle during photosynthesis. The C13 value of C4 plants is different from the C13 value of honey and thus the C13 ratio is a quality criterion for honey. The amount of C4 sugar in the honey is determined by the 13C / 12C ratio analysis performed with the EA-IRMS (Elemental Analysis – Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry) device. the difference between protein and raw honey delta C13 values in flower honey is -1 or more positive value, and the ratio of C4 sugars calculated from protein and raw honey delta C13 values should be a maximum of 7%. It is assumed that imitation and adulteration are made in honey that fall outside these values.
Experts have announced that, in order to determine the imitation and adulteration of honey, a device has been developed that can analyze at a very low cost and in a very short time, unlike the previously used and time-consuming methods. With the Raman spectroscopy method used in this device, the sugar syrup in the market can be determined by adding 1-2 grams of sampled honey and analyzed in 30 seconds. Experts who explain that the real honey producer is the victim, the overall honey quality in the markets has decreased and the consumer has been deceived due to the fraudulent honey produced and released to the market, this method can also easily detect the imitation and adulteration of other food items such as meat, milk, dairy products, and fat. Normally, only the bees work, the human factor does not take place in the production process from the beginning of the honey season to the honey harvest. This is what it should be naturally. It is stated that in order to collect only 500 grams of raw nectar, 900 thousand bees fly from flower to flower for a day and approximately 30 thousand bees need to collect nectar from 20 million flowers to produce 1 kg of honey. Despite all this difficult effort, only a part of the collected nectar is turned into honey. We hope that the bees’ work will be more respected and that this natural and real process will not interfere anymore.