With the decline of our precious honeybees the availability of pure, unprocessed honey is becoming limited. Oh yes, jars of golden nectar are evident on the shelves of our local grocery stores, big box stores and even drug stores; some with a remarkably low price tag. The likelihood of an inexpensive bottle of honey being the “real” thing is in a word, unlikely. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news to you fans of the little honey bear who lines the shelves at WalMart.
Honey “producers” will taint honey by adding corn syrup or other sweeteners to a reduced amount of the genuine nectar or without any addition of pure honey. Honey laced with lead, other metals and antibiotics has been making it’s way into our country from China. In other countries this honey is considered unsafe for human consumption.
Testing for pollen levels in a jar of honey is one simple way to determine if it’s the real thing or not. A bottle of honey with no traces of pollen is counterfeit honey. In his article “The Honey You Should Never Buy”, Dr. Joseph Mercola writes about a new report by Food Safety News, stating that more than 75 percent of the honey on American supermarket shelves may be ultra-processed—to the point that all inherent medicinal properties are completely gone—and then smuggled into the country by the barrel drum. Nearly all of this fake honey is made in China.
In their investigation, FSN discovered the following:
- 76 percent of honey samples bought at grocery stores (such as TOP Food, Safeway, QFC, Kroger, Harris Teeter, etc.) were absent of pollen
- 77 percent of the honey from big box stores (like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, and Target) were absent of pollen
- 100 percent of the honey sampled from drug stores (like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS Pharmacy) were absent of pollen
So you may be asking, “where should I buy my honey”? The good news is that honey purchased from Trader Joe’s, farmers markets, local bee keepers and co-ops all passed the test. These honeys were found to have the full compliment of pollen. Don’t worry if the honey you bring home crystalizes at some point. It is natural for pure, raw, unfiltered honey to turn to a solid sugar state. The nectar has not “gone bad” or “spoiled”. In fact honey is the only food known to man that does not spoil! If you experience a crystallization of your honey, simply heat a pan of water, remove it from the burner and set your honey in the hot water. I find this works especially well if after the honey begins to warm, I stir it with a spoon, return it to the hot water bath and continue this process until I have liquid gold again.
Support your local beekeeper. Buy his or her honey. If you don’t know any bee keepers search for your local beekeepers association. Usually named for the county you live in. You then will have a list of local people or places to buy honey – the real thing!
photo by: veganbits.com.