How to Spot fake saffron?

Saffron is considered the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is the red threads of the Crocus sativas plant. Saffron can be added to your hot beverages as well as different dishes; it adds an amazing flavor and color. Also, it has plenty of benefits. In our previous article, we discussed the benefits of saffron tea as well as saffron itself.

History of Saffron

As mentioned above, saffron is the most expensive spice that comes from the crocus sativas plant. The flower was first cultivated in Greece and was later it was planted and harvested in Iran, Spain, India, etc. However, there are many differences between Persian saffron vs. Spanish saffron. Saffron may be everywhere in the world, but most of them are imported.

Why is Saffron Expensive?

Saffron produces three threads alone, and it only blooms one week every 12 months. Saffron is very sensitive, and it should be handpicked and in the morning. Although, some countries that plant saffron don’t follow the traditional ways, and it has a direct effect on the quality of saffron. Moreover, it takes around 1000 saffron flowers to produce just an ounce of saffron. The manual labor and the fact that it takes a lot of flowers to produce an ounce of saffron.

Premium Quality Saffron

The quality of saffron depends on how it’s been planted, cared for, and picked. Most countries that plant saffron may use modern ways to harvest the saffron, and the process may damage the saffron flower and threads. As mentioned, each saffron flower only produces three threads. Once the saffron is handpicked, it should be dried. There are plenty of methods to dry the saffron, and this can also determine the quality of the saffron. Premium quality saffron is often dried in the traditional way, which is effective and doesn’t harm the saffron threads.

Furthermore, there are grades that determine the quality of saffron. The highest quality saffron comes from Iran, Spain, and Kashmir, and they come in different grades. In our Persian saffron vs. Spanish saffron article, we have discussed the different grades of both Spanish and Persian saffron.

How to test saffron? (How to spot fake saffron)

There are a few methods to spot fake saffron. However, in this article, we will introduce five ways to spot fake saffron.

1. Cold Water

spot fake saffron

The first method to spot fake saffron is to place a few saffron threads in a glass with cold water. High-quality saffron won’t release the golden color that we all know immediately; it usually takes 10-15 minutes until the water fully changes color. On the other hand, fake saffron will release deep red color in the water as soon as it touches the water.

2. Taste it

The second way to spot fake saffron is to place a saffron thread in your mouth. Saffron looks sweet but tastes bitter. If the saffron tastes sweet, it’s either low quality or fake saffron.

3. The fingers test

Take a few saffron threads that you have placed in your cold water and rub them with your fingers. Real saffron won’t break apart and turn into dust. In comparison, fake saffron will break apart as soon as you rub it.

4. Smelling Saffron

Smelling saffron is another way of spotting fake saffron. The smell of pure threads reminds you of honey and hay aroma. If the saffron smells like a chemical, it is definitely fake saffron.

5. Baking Soda

Mix baking soda and saffron in a glass of water; if the mixture turns yellow, then you have premium quality saffron; if not, it is fake.

When purchasing saffron online, you have to check the supplier, manufacturer and do a little research online about the brand.