Buying the Right Honey: What You Need to Know

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Honey really is a classic sweet—natural, healthy and flavorful. Unfortunately, it can also be adulterated or otherwise altered with frightening regularity in the production of cheap mass market honey.

Dangerous Additives

Honey is cultivated by bees throughout the world, but efforts to harvest this honey vary greatly in care and quality. China is so notorious for its honey—which is often contaminated with additives that include dangerous antibiotics—that the United States has leveled tariffs against Chinese honey imports to prevent their entrance into US markets. Now, the Chinese honey is moved through secondary countries such as South Korea or India and exported to the US with forged customs forms to conceal the honey’s point of origin.

Removing the Fingerprints

Lab testing can identify the origin of honey via trace pollen within the honey, but most mass produced honey is pasteurized and filtered to the point that no pollen remains, a practice ostensibly performed to improve the longevity and clarity of honey. This treatment also removes many of the nutrients and beneficial properties.

How can you ensure the quality of your honey?

After trying several supposed tests for the purity of honey, we at Manhattan Fruitier were forced to concede that the only way to be sure of a honey is to lab test it or to purchase it from a trusted source.

3 Tips for Buying Honey

raw honey vs unpure honey

Label at left lists corn syrup as the primary ingredient in this adulterated honey from India. Label at right designates this untreated honey as raw and sourced from New York.

Inspect the Label

The ingredients list should display any additives, such as corn syrup or water.

Buy Raw Honey

Raw honey is treated minimally if at all. It has a thicker, waxier texture at room temperature than its syrupy supermarket brethren, and contains the nutrients and pollen that make honey so good for you.

Know the Source of your Honey

Be sure to find out where your honey is produced. For Manhattan Fruitier gifts we offer fantastic raw honey from Catskill Provisions, which is sourced from hives in Sullivan and Delaware Counties in upstate New York. It is available in our Kosher Honey Hamper and Bee’s Knees or as an add-on to any gift.

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Matthew J.

Matthew is a former customer service representative and occasional contributor to our blog.

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Comments

  1. I recently bought L.R. Rice raw/unfiltered honey and on the ingredients it says raw and unfiltered honey, is that what I am looking for in honey?

  2. I just bought L.R. RICE raw & unfiltered Honey I hope this is the real honey your body needs so much scams these days your never know anymore companies fool the people so much really tired of lies thank You hope this is the REAL thing

    • Hi Nelson,
      Raw honey is typically indicated on the label of the container.
      Also, it has a thicker, waxier texture at room temperature than other honey.

  3. I agree, buying honey straight from the source is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a good batch. After all, there’s not many people who will no more about the honey you’re buying than the people who are getting it from the hives they own. Of course, considering the current bee problem we’re having, you also want to make sure that they don’t do anything to harm the bees when they get the honey.

  4. Hi I just bought some of the LR rice raw honey from Costco it seems like a super super deal I think it’s too good to be true. IT seems to be VERY different compared to the raw honey that I buy at farmer’s markets. Is there any test ?someone had suggested that real honey could burn and that it usually would crystallize is that accurate? Thank you.

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