Among the highest consumers in Europe with around 45,000 tonnes of honey consumed each year in France, the French are true honey lovers. And for good reason, in addition to being delicious, it is our best winter ally. Provided, of course, that it is good and natural.
The benefits of honey
Honey has been used for medicinal and dietary purposes for millennia. A gold mine, it contains antioxidants, which help strengthen the immune system and help the body fight infections. Full of natural carbohydrates, mainly in the form of fructose and glucose, honey is also a very good solution for a natural energy boost. If you have trouble falling asleep, a small amount of honey before bed promotes the release of serotonin, converted into melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, which allows for faster, more restful sleep. As is often the case, in winter, if you have an irritated throat, honey can be used as a natural remedy to relieve coughs and sore throats.
To reap the full benefits of honey, it is best to choose raw, unpasteurized honey, as the pasteurization process can remove some of the beneficial substances naturally found in honey.
Diluted, cut, of dubious origins, according to the European Commission, half of the honey sold in Europe is fake. To make sure you don’t get fooled, the first thing to do is to carefully examine the label to verify the origin of the honey. Avoid indications such as “mixtures of honeys originating in the EU”, or even “mixtures of honeys originating from the EU and non-EU”. Also pay attention to the words “Honey collected and potted by the beekeeper” which indicates local production. Pay attention to the Optimal Use Expiration Date (DLUO), which should not exceed 2 years since potting. Finally, choose honey labeled Organic Agriculture, a label which guarantees that the bees have not received antibiotic treatment and that they have only foraged on wild flowers or those from organic crops.
Test the quality of your honey
If you have any doubts about the authenticity of your honey, here are some quick tests that can help you determine its quality.
Try the cold water test which involves placing a spoonful of honey in a glass of cold water without mixing it. If the substance quickly falls to the bottom of the glass without diluting, you can consider the honey to be real.
Another technique is to use a sheet of paper towel. Place a little honey on top, if it is authentic, it will stay on the surface, otherwise it will be quickly absorbed due to its high water content.
Finally, you can try the fire test. Rest assured, there is nothing dangerous in this technique. Coat the head of a match with honey, then light it with another match. If the flame grows quickly, this indicates the presence of real honey. On the other hand, if the flame does not take off, this suggests that your honey is fake due to its high water content which hinders combustion.
With these tips, you should be able to tell the difference between quality honey and bad honey. If this is not the case, do not hesitate to buy your honey directly from the beekeeper, so you will have no doubt about the quality and origin of the product.