How to identify real saffron and avoid fake saffron?

How to identify real saffron

Real saffron is the stigma of the autumn crocus flower. While the flower is purple, the stigma is red. Each crocus bulb produces only one flower and each flower only produces 3 stigmas. As a result, the spice is difficult to harvest and expensive to purchase. So it is very important to identify the real saffron from fake saffron.

What can be wrong with what you buy? The item labeled saffron can be entirely fake, or it can be real saffron but adulterated with other substances. Fake saffron can be corn silk threads, safflower (an unrelated thistle), coconut filaments, or even dyed horsehair, or shredded paper. The dye used to color fake saffron will come off quickly, a fact that becomes apparent if you do the water test (#4 below). Real saffron can also be adulterated – mixed with fake materials or fillers or even sprayed with water to make it heavier and costlier by weight.

4 tips to identify pure saffron:

  1. Smell: Many authorities describe the smell of saffron as sweet.
  2. Appearance: Saffron threads are trumpet-shaped. If a thread does not bulge at one end, it’s a fake.
  3. Taste: While saffron smells sweet, it tastes slightly bitter, not sweet.
  4. time for color release in water: Put the threads in a small container of tepid water. Wait at least 15 minutes. Real saffron slowly turns the water yellow. The color change may take up to an hour. The saffron threads themselves retain their red color. If the water changes color immediately or turns red or does not change color, or if the threads lose their color, the substance is not saffron…

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