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Is your honey the bee’s knees?

Is your honey the bee’s knees?
Ella Tan
  • On September 7, 2015


A spoonful of honey makes many foods and drinks more palatable. I take honey in my oat porridge and if you believe in starting your day with organic apple cider vinegar, you’ll need honey stirred in to balance the vinegary sharpness. You might also dribble a little into your smoothies and for cooks, honey is often used in sauces and marinades, in baked goods and even for making bak kwa (Chinese pork jerky).

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Now, we are told that much of the honey we buy is not pure. Real honey should be totally bee-made, not man-made. I occasionally treat myself to Manuka honey, the costly version bees in New Zealand and Australia make from the nectar of the Manuka tree. But, even paying a high price doesn’t guarantee I’m getting honey that’s not been tampered with. What more the many brands of cheaper honey on supermarket shelves?

Frankly, when I pay SGD6 for a jar of honey, I don’t have high expectations although I hope it’s as pure as the manufacturer’s claim. However, if you are the type who must get value for money, there are ways to test for authenticity.

Remember not to use a metal spoon and don’t heat honey as the nutrients will be destroyed. Hence, if you are cooking or baking with honey, it doesn’t matter whether you buy pure honey or not.


honey gathering

I’ve picked five pointers from Home Healthy Recipes which should be enough to keep you honey-smart. But if you aren’t satisfied, read all 10 ways to test at


honey manuka

  1. Natural honey is not sticky

You can test it if you take a little honey and rub it between your fingers. Real natural honey is easily ingested into the skin. If it stays sticky, that means it contains sugar or artificial sweeteners.

  1. Caramelizing

Pour a few tsp of honey into a pot and heat it to a high temperature and microwave it. Raw honey gets caramelized, while the fake one becomes full of bubbles and foamy.

  1. Paper

Pour some drops of honey on paper. If the honey does not break down the paper after a bit of time, it is a real one. In another way, one that contains water in its structure will break down the paper just a few seconds.

  1. The ant test

Ants don’t like real honey, produced by bees. Try this and add some honey in a corner. If ants do not touch it, then the honey is real. (I wouldn’t try this. Cockroaches and lizards might be less fussy.)

  1. Honey doesn’t melt in water

This is the simple indicator of the right structure of honey. When we put a natural honey in water, it makes lumps and falls to the bottom of the cup, while the fake one melts.

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  1. Useful tips on honey!

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