How To Know Pure or Fake/Adulterated Honey

Some few years back, when I was much younger, my dad was used to adding a few spoons of honey to most of his cereals. He does this very religiously that he never used any form of granulated sugar. His mother was the one who does the supplies but not too long, she stopped because she cannot move around as she does in the past due to aging. Dad decided to go buy a bottle of honey by himself.

As he added the honey into his pap (Akamu or Ogi), in less than 1hour after finishing his meal, he began to show some allergic reactions. It later became severe that he had to visit a pharmacist.

Those who do this business of adulteration are smart that they try to imitate the properties of original/pure honey from appearance to consistency as much as possible but if you dig deep enough you would be able to identify those that are pure. They have several ways of making honey “not pure” – they can add sugar syrup to increase the quantity or corn starch to manipulate the viscosity (increase thickness).


Sometimes you want to use for one of its numerous medicinal purpose, this means that you have to get pure honey in order to actually benefit whatever you intend to benefit from it. You cannot afford to use the adulterated one or those ones made from brown sugar syrup, you won’t get the result you expect.

Methods for Identifying Pure or Adulterated Honey

Why spend your hard earned money on something that could be poisonous to your body system. Now let us check out the best methods to Identify pure honey. These simple tests listed in this article will help you to distinguish between fake/adulterated and pure/original honey.

1. Water test for Honey:

Water can be used to distinguish between pure honey and adulterated ones and it is so simple. Get a glass jar of water or a small pot half full of water. Add the honey into it at one point of the water using a table spoon.

If the honey spreads out and dissolves in the water, the honey is not pure. However, if it remains in its pasty form beneath the water while retaining the original colour, the honey is pure.

2. Fire test for honey:

Once you have gotten your honey, use a small piece of cloth and rub a portion of the honey at the edge of the cloth or you deep the wick of a candle into the honey, lit a fire over any of the cloth or wick for few seconds.

honey fire test

If it does not burn, the honey is not pure as it likely contains water but if the cloth or candlewick burns/catches fire, the honey is definitely pure. You can also use a matchstick as shown below. Put the honey in the middle of the matchstick and light the stick.

3. The Thumb Test:

Any of your right or left thumb can be used. Place a drop of honey on your thumb, if the honey slips or spread easily over your thumb, the honey is not pure but it it stays and still forms the drop on your thumb then the honey is pure.

While it might be a bit difficult to carry out the fire and water test method at the place of purchase, the thumb test can help you.

4. Paper Towel for telling honey quality:

Place a paper towel or serviette paper on a table and add few drops of the honey on it. If it absolves the honey, the honey is not pure but if it does not, and the honey stays longer on the paper then it is pure.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Many people are quick to believe the claim that ants do not go near pure honey. The veracity of this statement does not exist. Ants go after anything that is sweet and taste good. From bread to rice ants go after them talk less of honey. Other methods that can be used to identify pure honey are requesting to taste and check the consistency (thickness) of the honey. Usually pure honey is not thin in its consistency. Although, these methods cannot guarantee that you are buying 100% pure honey, they help – manufacturers of adulterated honey have developed ways of making their honey appear pure.

It is advisable to use a combination of the above-mentioned methods to ascertain if truly your honey is pure.

To reduce your chances of obtaining adulterated honey, you might want to purchase them at a honey farm, in towns that are known for honey production or supermarkets that have a very huge reputation in selling quality products. These factors will really help you.

I hope you find this article helpful. Let us know if you have any method you have been using too.


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Oladipupo Abioye
Oladipupo is a Pediatric Nutritionist with Lagos State Ministry of Health. He is an adventurous foodie and loves to teach and render presentations on foods and nutritional topics at different symposia. He loves Messi but Chelsea FC is his baby.


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  1. I just came back from the hospital where honey was used to treat my Dad’s wounds after an accident. I’ve know the healing properties for a while now. Thanks for the tip. I knew about the water and viscosity test. I also think a chronic user of honey can differentiate through taste but that depends on the level of perception of that person.

  2. Your article has really broaden my knowledge. Please, can you link me up with original honey seller. I buy honey in recycled water bottles and sell in retail price.

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