Honey is quality and valuable product of beekeeping, capable of preventing diseases and relieving their symptoms.
However, all this is only if it is natural, without additives, and not counterfeit. There is a widespread belief among buyers that you can check the product in water – by the presence of the so-called crystal lattice on the honey, which indicates the genetic memory. Is it true or a beautiful legend? Let’s try to figure it out in the article.
Biological (genetic) memory of honey
If to explain in brief the essence of the experiment with honey, a tablespoon of honey is placed in a container with a flat bottom, a little more cold water is poured, the honey is gently shaken in a circle, and the appearance of cells on the honey surface – a sign of authenticity – is observed. The sight is somewhat reminiscent of dunes, but more so of a bee honeycomb, which is what led to the belief that honey “remembers” how it was in the hive, and takes the same shape when tested in water.
Genetic memory is a kind of experience or memory incorporated in a living being by other carriers. In humans, such memory is manifested by a set of reflexes, instincts, and genetic programs. Accordingly, it is correct to apply the term only to the human species, certainly not to honey.
Carriers of genetic memory are RNA and DNA, which provide coding, reading, storage, and transfer of genes. Genetic memory is awakened when consciousness is suppressed, for example, infants have it very well developed. Honey has no consciousness, so it cannot have genetic memory.
Biological memory is a name closer to bee products, but still not entirely correct. Why, then, does a pattern appear on the surface?
How to check if honey has a memory
In water, honey takes an interesting shape, even if you put only a couple of drops in it. Some beekeepers are convinced that this is the only way to distinguish natural, homemade honey from counterfeit honey: the product seems to take the shape in which it was before it was taken by the beekeeper. Unscrupulous sellers of natural honey even speculate on this, giving customers substandard honey, which passed the dangling test.
Why tamper with honey at all? Honey is produced by bees from the nectar and pollen of honeybees, and depending on their species various varieties of honey: there are buckwheat, linden, chestnut, acacia, walnut, and others. It takes about 1.5 million droplets of nectar found in more than a dozen million flowers to produce a kilogram of product. Of course, it is more profitable to feed your bee families with ordinary sugar to get more honey, which matures in the same way, in the hives, but lacks the floral flavor and is considered unnatural.
The truth is that almost any honey in water will take an intricate form, even sugar, and store-bought honey. All of this is due to the phenomenon of Benard cells.
What are Benard cells?
Notice, the experiment uses only cold water. This is not a coincidence at all, because only in it honey can become the outline of a honeycomb. The phenomenon in question was discovered at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries by Jean-Bernard Leon Foucault. He had nothing to do with beekeeping.
The researcher conducted an experiment that demonstrated: the structure of a viscous substance is subject to the order in the form of hexagons during the temperature gradient. For example, vegetable oil easily forms such “honeycombs” in water. Accordingly, the essence of the verification experiment is not the need for real honey, but the nature of the stirred substances. The pattern was called Benard cells.
The crystal lattice of honey is another myth
While beekeepers claim the appearance of a crystal lattice on honey, chemists say otherwise. Substances have three states – liquid, solid, and gaseous. Honey in a honeycomb is a liquid, albeit viscous. It cannot have the same characteristics as other substances in other states. Only solids have a crystal lattice, hence honey does not.
The exception to this is honey that has crystallized from the characteristics of the raw material, long-term storage, or irregularities in the honey-making process. Sugaring of honey occurs if there is a lot of glucose in the honey and it settles to the bottom. There are varieties of honey that are considered liquid because of the long period of crystallization, such as acacia honey.
Thus, you can only check honey for authenticity if you don’t rely on the water and shaking method. It is better to buy the product from a trusted supplier, pay attention to the color (not too bright, but not too pale either, depending on the variety), taste it, and observe how quickly honey sugars when stored properly at home.