The saffron trade, like many other trades, faces the involvement of profiteers. Therefore, identifying genuine saffron and counterfeit saffron is an issue that buyers should pay attention to when buying saffron. But what are the methods of distinguishing genuine and counterfeit saffron? how to detect pure saffron ?
Although Iran produces more than 90% of the world’s saffron, according to a report published in December 1998, one of the lucrative methods for this product is to mix counterfeit saffron with the original saffron and then package it in the market.
how to detect pure saffron ?Since the quality of saffron is different and most people do not know this, it is better to first get acquainted with the basic methods of distinguishing genuine saffron from counterfeit saffron. The methods of distinguishing different types of saffron are very simple.
One of the easiest ways to identify a counterfeit product is to pay attention to the standards on the product packaging.
There are standards for the quality of the food industry all over the world; There are several standards of saffron. These saffron standards indicate that no foreign matter has been added to natural saffron. Therefore, one of the methods that can be used to ensure the quality of saffron is to check the standards. Therefore, it is better to refrain from buying saffron that does not have the product standard.
Given that each saffron producing country has its own quality standard for saffron, you should know that Iranian National Standard No. 1-259 and 2-259 is the reference of all saffron producers in Iran.
This standard is dedicated to different categories of saffron to study aroma, taste and color, and all types of saffron are evaluated with the same standards. This standard also offers suggestions for things like how to pack saffron. it is important to know how to detect pure saffron .
Among the common frauds in saffron, the following can be mentioned: Dye saffron root with dye extracted from stigmas or other natural or artificial colors and mix it with saffron.
Re-dye the used saffron and use the stigma from the flowers of other saffron species, which is usually shorter and free of compounds. Saffron, especially powdered saffron, is associated with more fraud. Because some people add chopped saffron to increase soil weight.
The most important fraud that takes place is the use of safflower, which is very similar to saffron.
Saffron is the most expensive spice and the most expensive agricultural product in the world. This strange and unique spice is almost as valuable as gold and that is why it is called red gold. Therefore, it is not surprising that in saffron, there is much more cheating than other food products.
Scams in saffron are done in different ways, one of which is to use similar products or goods instead of saffron.
One of the alternatives to the original saffron is the safflower plant or Indian saffron, which is known by its scientific name (Carthamus tinctorius) and some profiteers sell it because of its similar appearance by adding the aroma of saffron. It is important to note that real saffron, because it is part of the stigma of the saffron plant, has strands that have wider ends. it is important to know how to detect pure saffron
There are many other simple but proven methods to test the quality of saffron without expensive tests. These tests and methods for detecting genuine saffron are classified into several groups:
1- Visual diagnosis (seeing saffron)
2- Detection by smell
3- Recognition through taste
4- Diagnosis through cold water test
5- Detection through gasoline
But how to distinguish genuine saffron from counterfeit saffron by knowing these methods?
Sargol saffron: It is in the form of pure saffron without cream (without yellowness) which has three separate branches, which is also called Sargalam or cut strands.
– Sargol Negin: This type of saffron is a large pen without cream and without breakage and softness, which is stronger than Sargol in terms of appearance and color.
– Straw saffron: It is in the form of three stigmas connected to each other and a large pen, which makes the stigma strands coil inside each other and have more volume. In this type of saffron, the possibility of fraud is very low, therefore, this type of saffron is more popular in the market than other types. it is important to know how to detect pure saffron
– Negin straw: in the form of three strands of stigmas connect without root (without yellowing and white), it is long and thick and the coil is tangle and bulky. The best type of Negin straw saffron is find at the beginning of the harvest season.
– Simple straw: in the form of three strands of stigmas connected with cream (1 to 3 mm) that the stigmas are shorter, thinner and smaller.
– Saffron handle or girl: Stigma with cream 4-5 cm. Strings are categorize into one-way and two-way.
Due to the diversity of saffron, it is necessary to have enough knowledge about the types of saffron to be able to distinguish its type by seeing saffron.
In the picture below, the different parts of saffron that are use for different types of saffron are mentioned. Another important point in distinguishing genuine saffron from counterfeit is that the color of saffron should also be considered carefully. saffron is not very shiny.
The aroma of pure saffron is very special and has a combination of the smell of honey and alfalfa. Well, it’s usually hard to tell for people who aren’t very familiar with the smell of honey and alfalfa.
Saffron contains a compound called picrocrocin, which is responsible for the taste of saffron and makes it taste bitter. Pure saffron has a bitter and somewhat astringent taste and is never sweet. If it taste sweet, it was probably added honey to make it gain weight.
To test the taste of saffron, all you have to do is ask the seller to give you 3 or 4 strands of saffron that you are going to buy to put on your tongue and taste it for a few seconds and then put the strands on a napkin. Pour clean paper and dry them. Even if the taste was bitter but the texture of the paper turned red, saffron is not original. Also note that when saffron is placed between paper or newspaper and pressed, no grease stains will remain. Keep in mind that saffron originally smells sweet but its taste is not sweet at all.
In this method, you have to put saffron in water. After 5 to 10 minutes, the real saffron strands turn the water color into a golden yellow. Also, note that the diffusion of saffron color is slow and stable, so if it gives color quickly, it means that saffron is not the original and has been added to that color.
Finally, using gasoline, genuine saffron can be distinguished from counterfeit saffron. The color of saffron fibers is not soluble in gasoline, which means that if we throw a few fibers in gasoline, it should not color the gasoline.
Along with all these methods of identifying the original saffron that was present, it is not bad. Sometimes, think about buying safe and secure from sites like saffronir site that have the symbol of trust and the necessary standards. Remember that it is very important to use simple methods to distinguish genuine saffron from counterfeit ones, including checking the color and taste, appearance and price of saffron.