How to choose the right honey when buying

The director of the Research Institute of Honey spoke about three criteria by which you need to choose honey in a store
Honey is a storehouse of useful components, for which we all keep it at home. But only if you bought a natural product, without artificial additives, which was produced and stored according to all the rules. If it does not meet quality standards, then eating it is pointless - you can just as well add sugar syrup to food.
We spoke with the director of the Research Institute of Honey and Bee Products - biologist Irina Kharisova and are ready to share with you the most truthful information about choosing honey in the store. So, what to look for: expert opinion. Read the full article here.
How to determine the quality of honey at the time of purchase?

Criterion # 1: consistency
The first thing that we can notice and appreciate ourselves when choosing a favorite and healthy delicacy is the appearance. What should good quality honey look like?

First, you should always remember that both liquid and crystallized state are natural for natural honey. The consistency depends on several factors:
1)From the time of collection: according to its natural qualities, honey can remain liquid only for the first few months after pumping out of the honeycomb, and then naturally thickens and begins to crystallize
If you buy packaged honey, you should pay attention to the date of packing. In order to pour crystallized honey into jars, you have to resort to heating it. Conscientious processors heat honey no higher than 38–40 ° C - at this temperature, the beneficial properties are not lost.
1) From botanical origin: some varieties of honey, such as acacia, angelica, honeydew and chestnut, can remain in a liquid state for a longer time.
2) Storage conditions: at low temperatures, honey crystallizes faster. For example, if you put a jar in the refrigerator, then honey can "sit down" in a few days.
If honey (except for acacia, angelica, honeydew, chestnut and # nbsp; some others) has a liquid consistency even 3-4 months after pumping out or the date of packing, this gives reason to be wary. Most likely, it # nbsp; was exposed to excessive heating (more than 38-40 ° С), which leads to # nbsp; loss of its useful properties.
Secondly, the honey must be homogeneous. If lumps and flakes are clearly visible in the jar, this indicates that artificial additives may be present in the product.

Sometimes you can observe uneven crystallization of honey (it remains liquid on top, and crystallized in the bottom of the container), but this is not always a cause for concern. There are two reasons for stratification: the first is natural stratification into fructose and glucose, and the second is fermentation processes. In both cases, the changes occur due to a violation of the temperature regime, but in the first it is not critical.
The recommended storage temperature for honey is not higher than 20 ° C, at a higher temperature in dried honey fructose begins to float upward, forming a liquid layer, glucose crystals remain below. The more fructose honey contains, the more it is prone to stratification after crystallization (the content of fructose and glucose in honey depends on its botanical origin).
If exfoliated honey has no foam on the surface, sour smell, unpleasant taste, and the jar is not swollen, it can be eaten. If honey has stratified and has all of the listed characteristics, this means that it has fermented. In this case, delamination is caused by the high moisture content of honey - more than 20%. The reason for this may be its too early pumping out by the beekeeper, when the bees have not yet managed to evaporate excess moisture from the honey and seal the honeycomb, or improper storage. Since honey is very hygroscopic, it should be stored in a hermetically sealed container (even at home).
Criterion # 2: smell
If you can, be sure to try to smell the honey. The aroma directly depends on the plants from which it is collected. There are varieties with rich and bright aromas (buckwheat, chestnut), and there are, on the contrary, very delicate and light ones (honey from acacia, fireweed). Natural honey should smell like flowers, but not the fruit of the plant from which it is collected. For example, raspberry honey cannot smell like raspberries. If you are offered this option, then this is a product with a flavor.
Counterfeits containing sugar syrup are almost odorless.

Criterion # 3: taste

Better yet, taste the honey. Our tongue can easily sense a fake. Real honey will be slightly astringent, astringent and tempting to clear your throat (slight burning). A fake is often tasteless and feels like "empty" (because sugar syrup is just sucrose and nothing else).
As with aroma, honey cannot taste like the fruit of the plant.

Also, a sign of low-quality honey is considered to be a caramel aftertaste: it indicates that this product has undergone heat treatment and, most likely, was very overheated
Criterion # 4: color
Natural honey has a wide palette of shades - from almost colorless (from white acacia) to dark brown (chestnut honey). At fairs, you can often find a creamy product of pale pink, pistachio and other flowers unnatural for natural honey - all this is honey with various additives.

How to check the quality of honey at home?

If you bought liquid honey, try scooping it up and rolling it onto a spoon. A good product should lay in soft, even coils. The fake will flow in an uneven stream, which is easily interrupted and spreads immediately without forming a cone.

To find out if honey is starchy, you can put a small amount on a saucer and drip iodine into it. In the presence of starch, a characteristic blue appears on the surface. But in fact, diluting honey with starch is a very old and primitive way of falsification, which you are unlikely to find today.

You can find out if honey contains chalk by adding vinegar to it. Spoon a small amount of honey from a jar and add a couple of drops of the essence to it. The chalk will show itself with a noticeable hiss. But this is also a rarity these days.
On the Internet, you can find many ways to identify a fake at home, but by and large, all of them can only identify primitive and outdated methods of falsification that are not currently used. Unfortunately, today it is possible to determine whether honey is natural only in specialized laboratories.
How NOT to check honey

1) Using "genetic memory"
There is a myth that if honey is put on a plate and poured over with cool water, it will show a crystalline structure. Indeed, this trick allows you to see a characteristic pattern resembling honeycomb cells on the water, but this has nothing to do with the proof of quality: you will have a similar pattern of irregular hexagons even if you pour pure sugar syrup into a bowl of water.

This trick is based on a physical phenomenon called Benard cells. Almost any viscous substance forms such cells if a temperature gradient is created in it. In focus with honey, the temperature gradient is created by warm (room temperature or air temperature on a hot summer day) honey and a layer of cold water.
2) By color
There is an opinion that good honey should only be yellow, and too white or too dark means additives. Let's disappoint you: this is also a myth. The color of honey can vary greatly depending on the variety. So, for example, heather, angelica or coniferous, by their nature, must have a rich brown tint, and sweet clover, sainfoin or acacia can be very light, almost white after crystallization. Thus, color should be guided only by those buyers who are well versed in honey and know what shades it can be.

The best way to buy natural good honey is to use the services of trusted vendors. It can be a neighbor who has an apiary, or just a respectable store, or a honey producer with certificates. As a rule, one or two tests will allow you to understand how conscientious the supplier is.

Enjoy the shopping!
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