How acidic is honey?

According to the National Honey Board, the acidity of honey ranges from a pH of about 3.4 to about 6.1, with an average of 3.9. The acidity of any honey is directly related to the floral sources that created it.

Honey contains a number of different acids, including about 18 amino acids, many different organic acids, as well as aliphatic and aromatic acids. The aromatic acids greatly contribute to the flavor of honey.

Acidity is measured on a scale of 1-14 called the pH scale. One is very acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is very basic. There are many confusing aspects to the pH scale, one of which is that it is logarithmic. Hence, something with a pH of 2 is 10 times more acidic than something with a pH of 3 and 100 times more acidic than something with a pH of 4.

Most human foods fall into a pH range of about 2 to 7, but this presents no challenge to the human stomach which averages a pH of about 1.5 to 2. The acidity of honey is very close to that of the more acidic fruits.

  • Lemons: 2.2-2.4
  • Oranges: 3.0-4.0
  • Honey: 3.9 [ranging from 3.2-6.1]
  • Cherries: 3.2-4.0
  • Carrots: 4.9-5.3
  • Corn: 6.0-6.5
  • Distilled Water: 7.0 [neutral]
  • Eggs: 7.6-8.0 [somewhat basic]

Because of its acidic properties, honey should always be processed and stored in non-reactive containers. The photo below shows a Cloake board with a galvanized aluminum divider that was damaged after honey dripped onto it.

Rusty

Galvanized sheet showing damage from honey.
Galvanized sheet showing damage from honey.

Comments

skirtmuseum

@HoneyBeeSuite have you read the Mary Roach book Stiff? The author discusses honey embalming. Uncomfortable & thrilling.

Lisa

Interesting article. I have always been fascinated by bees and their sweet product…but for grammar’s sake please change the title to “How ACIDIC is honey?”

Rusty

Lisa,

Crazy how these things escape me. Thank you, and consider it done!