A few weeks ago, I bought some honey and used some of it. When I opened it today, there was a small “pop” sound like I had let out some gas. That points to the fact that some fermentation process was going on in the bottle. An indication that the honey may be adulterated – despite all the assurances of the vendor otherwise.

There are several brands of honey sold in supermarkets with labels screaming how Pure and Natural they are despite being the opposite. We know this for a fact but because we are left with really little choice, we go right ahead and purchase them.

Adulterated honey is a big deal, especially for people that are trying to cut out sugar from their diet. At one point, I gave up on our local honey and went the way of liquid Stevia but the need to keep it refrigerated is such a bother in Nigeria where power supply is an issue, that I moved back to “pure” honey. Looks like I am going to go back to Stevia – the powdered version – until I find an original local supply of honey.

Here is a comprehensive list of tests you can perform on your honey to find out if it real or not.

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Please let me know what brand of honey you tested and what the results are. I will post some results soon too.

28 Comments

nory

Afrique Pure Organic Royal Honey (N820 for 50cl at supermarkets) passed the lighted candle (it burned with a sizzle sound), paper and water tests (it doesn’t dissolve well in my tea). After it’s finished, I met a sculptor whose family own a bee farm outside Lagos (I’ve seen the pictures) and my artist friends have started buying from him, he’s not cheaper than a store, but it’s good unalduterated honey. I could pass on his number if you like (he’s a good person).

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Earthly Produce Limited

Hello Natural Nigerian,

My sister saw this blog and called my attention to it. I am a beekeeper in Osun State and yes, I collect honey from my bees. First let me suggest a possible reason why your honey fermented, it’s not that it is fake, it was probably not ripe before harvesting. Honey is like a crop, it has to ripen first before it is harvested, this means that the water content has to be low. The bees do this themselves but sometimes people are not patient enough and may try to get to the honey first. Up ripe honey is ok to consume but it does not last very long as the fermentation process begins.

In response to your tests, I must say it’s quite a mixed bag. If two different textures of honey are mixed, you will find layers in the final product. Some types of honey granulate, hence you might experience it setting or forming granules. Some types of honey are quite watery not the thick ones you are used to. Not all honey burns the throat, some are quite smooth. Once honey is harvested, pressed and sealed straight away it tends to form a bit of foam at the top. There are just as many aromas as there are colors and textures. I should know, since November last year I have seen and tasted about ten different types. I got one yesterday from a friend and he was so excited ago tell me about the colour (black) and we both spent a few minutes trying to guess what the bees foraged on. I have just got the honey analysis back from my local university giving me the details of what my bees foraged on in the past few months. It absolutely blew my mind!

Take a look at my Facebook page Earthly Produce and if you feel like dancing with bees drop me a line, you might even get to harvest your own honey. Apologies for the length and any errors, I can talk all night about honey!

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Natural Nigerian

I love the fact that you left such a lengthy comment. It is really educative. I am hopping over to your Facebook page now and I imagine that I will be mailing you soon.

So basically, there are several variables to consider…okay, I can live with that.

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Esta Morenikeji

Thanks NN for this article. I have been searching for original honey for a while now, I bought 2 different brands last week and had to throw them away. A client gave me another popular (and very expensive) brand on Monday and it didn’t pass some of the tests. It is sad people can’t be truthful about the quality of their products, what is wrong with us? Anyways, thank you Earthly Produce, I will stop by your Facebook page.

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Mne

Pardon moi. I do not want to be a killjoy. Is this apiary treated with pesticides?

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Mne

I should add that I have been searching for beeswax locally. I have found some beekeepers spray their hives.

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Earthly Produce Limited

Dear Mne,

That’s actually an interesting question. No, I do not spray my hives with pesticides, I wonder why anyone would want to??? The farm is chemical free and we are working on getting certified as an organic farm, however since bees can forage for up to 3km it is quite difficult to call the honey organic. The most I can promise you is that it is pure and unadulterated.

The pests we get on this side of the world is the wax moth which lays it’s eggs in the honeycomb. We search our hives thoroughly for it and make sure we get rid of excess empty combs from weak hives. Strong bee colonies tend to get rid of this particular pest themselves.

Long of a short story is we do not use agro chemicals in any form on the farm. You are welcome to visit and see what we do. Thank you

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Motilayo

NN, thanks for your post. Please, please and please, where do you buy your stevia from, both liquid and powder???!! Thanks!

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Motilayo

Hey Chiquita, I think it depends on what you mean by healthy. I don’t know where to get raw honey, so I use regular honey. Even at that, honey has has a lot of sugar and apparently is even more caloric than white sugar, so I like to mix both honey and stevia in my foods, depending so I’m getting the sweetness but not all the sugar from honey. I like to have them all really and mix and match as I please :)

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Mitchell

Wow I’m really liking this honey post. And the informative comments. I have heard of the ant test. If you see ants hovering around your honey bottle or keg, it is more than likely adulterated. With sugar I guess. I have some honey. Left a bit out with sugar in it (leftover from honey and sugar scrub). No ants came near it. Hmmm. On the other hand my honey is thick, dark, has an aroma, has disgusting bees (lol) and what I suppose r pieces of honey comb in it so I suppose its pure enough. But God save us all. Cornstarch and chalk in honey kwa? Why are people wicked?

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Earthly Produce Limited

Mitchell,

The ant test is not a reliable test for honey unfortunately. One of the big problems we have in the apiary (collection of beehives) is the attack of ants. They invade the hive, overwhelm the bees and destroy the colony. I guess they also eat the honey. There are a set of scientific tests to find out if honey is pure and unadulterated but the equipment isn’t cheap.

Best test for honey? Get to know your beekeeper and don’t complain when he/she tells you the price!

Your friendly beekeeper.

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Mne

To Earthly Produce, I am not on facebook anymore. What other way can we connect? I agree ant test isn’t sure proof. Ants looovve honey. In the villages they ‘forage’ and die right in your basin of 100% pure wildcrafted honey.

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sandra

I learnt a lot from this article and the comments. I really like the honey I use, always seemed like the real stuff with that warm honey aroma, a few impurities and all. I’m on my 2nd bottle but the tests looked fun so I tried some anyway.
1. the paper test: the drop stayed put. it didn’t spread at all.
2. the fire test: no snap, crackle, pop or hiss. it just warmed up and became a little runny.
3. the water test: this one I noticed a while ago when I put some in my bath water. it didn’t dissolve readily. I had to swish and swish and swish.
The brand is Joesam. I got it in a produce store at N900 for the 500ml bottle. What got me was a number on the bottle to call to know how to identify real honey, even though I never called. I bought it in Benin but the address says Ojota. Numbers on it are: 07063222999, 08033278736
there’s a picture of it on my blog: naijagirlnextdoor.blogspot.com

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Christopher Munyao

Halo am from east Africa and would like to import real honey to Nigeria any serious interested party .

Regards

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Obikin's

helo,im a distributor of pure honey, the ants isn’t a perfect test for honey as erroneously belve by many. Anything sweat dat ants doesn’t eat even humans should not,for instance ants get attracted to even breast milk.Pure honey contains 80% sugar the rest 20% is made of water,minerals and vitamins.but there’s always a silent bitter tast dat goes down d throat after the sweat taste.good honey doesn’t soak into paper if drop on.there’re a lot more to know.

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KAJ Arolu Farms

Am a BEEKEEPER in Okeodan,Yewa South,Ogun,Nigeria.Earthly Produce,proud of u as an apiarist,also thanks 2 everyone 4 valuable comments,Natural Nigerian kudos 4 ur kindly post.As d matter of fact d best test 4 RAW HONEY is get it frm HONEST beekeeper/seller

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KAJ Arolu Farms

To Mne,about organic beeswax u can source within beekeepers in Nigeria,d only problem we having is that most beekeepers are after HONEY only,bcos 1.Beekeeping as part time business 2.Cant go long way 2 melt combs 4 wax due 2 lack of market 2 sell d beeswax

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KAJ Arolu Farms

Nigerian BEEKEEPERs’ we have alot to covered.With my meagre experience of 2 years in HONEY industry i understand that the image of RAW HONEY have to be revalidated and rescued from the hands of get rich quick&greedy people,who adulterated honey in any way

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KAJ Arolu Farms

So many people are familiar with the honey harvested by honey hunters using live fire(Heated Honey) which is far less than the honey harvested by beekeepers’ using smoke(Raw Honey).

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