Saffron is known for its benefits and values. Hence, many people spend a huge amount of money on buying the purest form of saffron for their benefit. When you are spending this much on a pack or box of pure kesar, you must do proper research about its purity. Talking of the real saffron, then it is the stigma of the autumn crocus flower. The stigma is red, while the bloom is purple. Every crocus bulb generates only one flower, and each flower creates only three stigmas. As a consequence, the spice is difficult to cultivate and costly to buy. Hence, there are times when a lot of sellers might try to fool you by providing you with something that mimics saffron and not the real one.
Often, you might be in this dilemma of what could have been wrong with your purchase? The object labeled saffron may be false, or it may be actual saffron, but it may be heavily processed with other chemicals. Fake saffron, maybe corn silk string, safflower, coconut fibers, or even coloured horse fur, or shredded paper. The pigment used to stain artificial saffron will wash off easily, a reality that will become obvious if you take a water test. Natural kesar may also be mixed with artificial materials or fillers or also coated with water to make it thicker and more expensive by weight.
Tests to identify Saffron Purity
Now, let us talk about five tests which you can do to identify whether the saffron is pure. Let us get started with it!
1. Rub Saffron between Fingers
After injecting the Saffron threads in cool water for a couple of seconds, take the Coupe threads and put them in your hand. Rub the threads with two fingers back and forth over a bunch of times. Pure Saffron strands will not break off, while artificial saffron will break apart and then crumble away or turn into liquid.
2. Taste the Saffron
If you see a deep red colour in your water, you may have possibly got your hands on the adulterated saffron. It is safe not to use this substance because it is expected to contain toxic colouring additives. To assess the validity and reliability of the saffron, put the threads of the saffron on your tongue. If you feel sweetness, then you have fake and low-quality saffron. The rule of thumb here is that quality saffron can smell good but just never taste sweet!
3. Cold Water Test
Begin by taking saffron strands and then put them on the top of a clear glass or petri dish filled with cold water. Both the pure and changed saffron will unleash a few of their colours into the water, but the distinction is that pure saffron will not release a lot of colours at once. In the case of the pure strands of saffron, you will see that there is a release of golden hue. It will take between 10-15 mins for a cup of water to change colour.
If the water is deep red, this is not certainly a great sign, as in such cases, you might be having the fake saffron. It is because the original saffron leaves yellow colour and not red. It is not safe to use the red coloured saffron as; there might be lots of colouring chemicals in it.
The last thing you need to notice is that the original saffron does not lose its colours. However, the fake one will start getting whiter day-by-day.
4. Use the Baking Soda
Next, the technique to determine whether you own original saffron is by mixing saffron with baking soda in a small bowl of water. If the solution turns out to be yellow at the end, then you are looking at the original saffron.
5. Smell Saffron
The odour of pure saffron is similar to that of honey and grass. Due to elevated amounts of safranal and picocrocin in the saffron, it can have a pungent (nearly chemical) odour at times.
Tips to Buy the Best Saffron
Below we have talked about two important points which you certainly do need to keep at your fingertips.
Whenever planning to buy saffron, make sure that you do not end up in a local or shoddy store. Better choose a store, which is reputable and registered to sell out such expensive spices.
Avoid buying the ground and powdered saffron, even if that is your requirement. It is because if you buy saffron in strands, then you can test it. However, in the case of powdered saffron, you cannot test it. If the substance has been crushed, it is almost difficult to tell the difference between true and false or adulterated. Furthermore, even though it is genuine, ground saffron can consist of fillers such as coloured rice flour, starch, or other spices such as turmeric or red pepper.
We all know that saffron is very expensive. Hence, any number that is significantly smaller than the foreign market price can already raise red flags.
Usually, the saffron comes in the threaded form. If the product you are looking at does not seem to be threaded and there are several thin, broken bits in the box, it is likely to be fake saffron.
The size of saffron strands is consistent, but the colour is not. When all the threads are of same redness from end to end, they may have been dyed to hide the real colour beneath.
These were some tips that you can jot down in your mind whenever buying saffron for your purpose.
Those who would like to get all the best out of their saffron must adhere to pure saffron. It is not impossible to pinpoint pure saffron, and there are many ways to accomplish this goal. Good quality saffron has distinctive characteristics that anyone can detect. Aside from the testing methods, which we have described previously, another excellent way to distinguish high-quality, pure saffron is to search for products that have ISO approval. We hope this article has supported you in making the correct decision. When you are planning to buy saffron, make sure that you keep these tests in mind.