Real saffron vs. fake saffron
27/07/2022

Seven Easy Ways to Identify Real Saffron

Saffron is a valuable and costly spice, therefore so many profiteers are encouraged to produce fake saffron for more profitability. That is why companies and final consumers should know how to identify real saffron. As there is no machine or special sensor to check the genuineness of the saffron, then consumers should know how to differentiate pure saffron from fake ones. Here are several easy ways to determine if your saffron is pure or not:

Cold water test:

cold water test to identify fake saffron

This is the most common way to test the purity of saffron. Prepare a glass bowl full of cold water. Take some saffron threads and place them on top of the water. After 10-15 minute, the saffron slowly releases a golden hue, and the water turns completely yellow. If so, you can make sure that your saffron is pure. Both pure and altered saffron release some color to the water, but altered saffron immediately releases a lot of dark red color, and the threads become white after a short time

Baking soda:

Another way is to mix and dissolve a small amount of baking soda into some water. Once you add saffron, the mixture should gradually turn yellow, showing that the saffron is pure. If it turns to pale crimson or orangish look, then your saffron is fake and altered.

The taste of saffron:

taste and smell of real saffron

Pure saffron does not taste sweet but it must smell sweet

If your saffron tastes sweet, then you have altered, fake saffron. some profiteers add spray honey or sugar to the product in order to increase the overall weight of saffron product. Pure saffron should taste bitter.

Pure saffron smells like bitter honey and hay aroma. It is interesting to know that old crop saffron smells sharper than new harvested ones. On the other hand, it smells stronger when it’s newly harvested, but it gradually loses its smell when brewing (over some months (Therefore, the old crop has a sharp On the other hand, it smells stronger when it’s newly harvested, but it gradually loses its smell when brewing (over some months) Therefore, the old crop has a sharp, not strong, bitter smell.

Rub saffron with fingers to test saffron purity

Rub saffron with fingers:

Rub a few saffron strands with your fingers after placing them into cold water. Fake saffron will break apart and turns to dust as soon as you rub them. Also, you can easily rub saffron between fingers and check if it leaves orangish or yellowish color. This shows that your product is totally pure. 

Paper Test:

There is also another simple way to test saffron purity. Some profiteers add oil to increase the overall weight and make them look shinier than they really are. To find out that your saffron is oil-free, you can rub saffron between some papers. If it is oily, it surely manifests some oil on the paper, proving that the product has been manipulated.

Appearance of real saffron

The appearance of saffron:

Testing the appearance of saffron is not solely enough, as there are many similar products to saffron strands, such as corn dyed stems, safflower, and even strands of red meat. When examining the appearance of saffron, you should be too careful and should use at least one other way to prove the purity of saffron.

Real saffron differs from fake ones, even in appearance. Real saffron threads are trumpet-shaped. This means if the saffron threads do not bulge at one end, then your saffron is not real and pure.

Petrol/gasoline Test:

This way is a bit more interesting. To identify the genuineness of saffron, you can use some petrol. Saffron is not solvable in petrol and gasoline. Therefore, if you add some saffron to petrol, and your petrol is colored, then you can be sure that your saffron is not pure.

Different ways of producing fake saffron:

safflower fake saffron

In most cases, profiteers add some plant called safflower (GolRang in Persian). GolRang is a cheap alternative to saffron for cooking purposes. This spice is used as it looks the same as saffron, at least in appearance. Safflower is yellow-orangish and it is dyed to red to look alike saffron. safflower is also used for dying textiles, as natural mordants.

Another way to provide fake saffron is to add other similar spices to the product, which can be detected by smell, taste, look, and the price of saffron. for example, some dye silk, corn, coconut strands, or even the saffron styles to red and sell them as saffron.

Some profiteers may add oil, honey, salt, or sugar in order to increase the weight of saffron. As above, we mentioned different ways to spot such scams in saffron production.

As saffron is a valuable spice, there is a high risk to buy fake saffron in the market.

So, how to find real Iranian saffron?

Reputable companies provide ISO Standard 3632, measuring the saffron quality. The two parts of ISO standards called 3632-1 and 3632-2 determine the different classification methods of dried saffron, including threads, cut threads, and powder. The companies aim to test the strength of saffron flavor, scent, and color. Such tests also determine if the saffron is poorly dried or not. This is important as the dried saffron retains moisture, therefore, the product weighs more than fully dried ones. Laboratories also examine the existence (or not) of any kind of color additive to make sure the saffron product is pure.

SunLand Packaging

As saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, then you should be careful before spending money on purchasing saffron. It is safe to provide saffron from a reputable brand, inquiring them to provide necessary test and quality certificates. SunLand processes and dries top-quality saffron, as we own an equipped laboratory to ensure the quality of the product. SunLand and the chosen farmers under the contract of SunLand saffron company produce pure saffron in their family-owned lands and processes the product in a well-equipped production line to check the balance of bioactive components and make sure about the product quality.

Buy Iranian pure saffron

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