Commercial saffron is obtained from the flower stigma called Crocus Sativus. Saffron, also known as red gold, is an expensive substance and its production and cultivation in the agricultural sector is very valuable.
Like any other precious substance, buying saffron faces many problems and challenges. One of the main problems is the increase of counterfeit types of saffron in the market. Certainly, by selling fake saffron, a lot of money is gained by fraudsters. If you are one of the buyers of saffron, it is probably difficult for you to distinguish the real saffron from the fake one. Of course, no one wants to know that what they bought was fake saffron after paying a lot of money to buy saffron. By knowing the Criteria for detecting high quality and original saffron, you can have a safe purchase.
As they know, saffron has many uses in foods, cosmetic creams, various medicines and a variety of teas and drinks. In such a case, imagine that instead of original and high quality saffron, a fake substance is used. Sure, the result will be very bad.
Fake saffron may give a good color to food, but you can not expect a pleasant smell and taste from fake saffron. So let me tell you the Criteria for detecting high quality and real saffron.
Identify the real saffron
The bitterness of saffron
One of the main methods of recognizing saffron is tasting it. High quality saffron always has a sweet fragrance and not a sweet taste. To recognize its taste, put one of the saffron strings on your tongue. If it tastes sweet, it is a fake saffron because sometimes fraudsters mix saffron with honey or sugar to increase its weight. The real saffron is slightly bitter or sometimes does not give any special taste.
Another definitive method for identifying the original saffron is its fragrance. In this way, you should be well acquainted with the fragrance of saffron. The fragrance of original saffron is very attractive and exciting, if you know the real fragrance of honey and alfalfa, you can most likely recognize the fragrance of original saffron. This perfume is a combination of honey and alfalfa, and the fresher the saffron, the sharper its smell.
Dissolve saffron in water
Pour some saffron in cold water and pay attention to the process of changing its color. Whether you put the real saffron in water or fake saffron, the color of the water changes after a few minutes. So how do we distinguish the original from the counterfeit? Follow the text.
When you take the real saffron stigmas out of the water, you will notice that the original color of the stigmas themselves has not changed much. But if you take the fake saffron out of the water, you will see that the color added to the saffron stigmas is completely gone, has no previous appearance and has turned white. In addition, the real saffron has a slower coloring speed, so if the saffron returns color quickly, there is no doubt that it is combined with chemical dyes.
The color of the original saffron in water is orange-yellow and red, and of course it is transparent. Bold red in water is not a good sign. Keep in mind that the chemicals used to dye saffron may be harmful to your health.
Saffron stigmas are not shiny. Sometimes in the preparation of fake saffron, the stigmas of other plants, including corn, are dyed and sold instead of the original type. The stigmas of these two plants are very similar and the difference between them is that saffron stigmas have a curved shape that can help you identify the type of principle. Safflower is naturally very similar to the original saffron in appearance, so do not be fooled by its appearance and pay more attention to its color and smell.
Saffron is not greasy
Pour some saffron on the paper or press it between your fingers. If grease stains remain on the paper, it is a sign that the saffron you bought is counterfeit and they may have added fat to it to gain weight. The original saffron turns into a powder if it is crushed between the paper.
The combination of saffron and baking soda
One of the interesting ways to identify the real saffron is to add a little baking soda to the water and mix it well. Then add a little saffron to the solution. If the saffron is genuine, the composition of water and baking soda will turn yellow, but if the saffron is counterfeit, the solution will turn pale red.
Saffron and stove
Put some saffron on the stove and on the city gas flame. If its color changes to purple or orange, your saffron is the original. In this way, counterfeit saffron turns yellow.
What defines the quality of saffron?
First of all, we must know what indicators affect the quality of saffron.
- Saffron coloring: The main reason for the red color in saffron is a compound called crocin with the chemical formula C44H64O24. Crocin is one of the carotenoids in nature that dissolves easily in water. In fact, this solubility is one of the reasons for the widespread use of saffron as a colorant in food and medicine compared to other carotenoids. The color strength of saffron is one of the main parameters that determine the quality of saffron, which is evaluated by measuring the amount of crocin in it. Crocin in saffron should be between 140 and 300 units. The higher amount of this substance, the higher the quality and value of saffron.
- Fragrance: Another factor that determines the quality of saffron is that Safranal that causes its wonderful fragrance and it should be between 20 and 50 units.
- Flavor: The Picrocrocin in saffron causes the bitter taste of original saffron and should be between 70 and 150.
- Moisture: The amount of moisture can be affected on the quality of saffron. The percentage of this moisture should be less than 10 units.
- Additives: The mass percentage of additives to saffron that is tested in the laboratory should be less than 2 units.
- Length of saffron strings: This feature is especially important for Sargol saffron and determines the quality of saffron. This number can be between 10 and 30 mm.
- Climatic conditions: The climate that saffron is grown in, also has a great impact on the quality and quality of saffron. Saffron is a subtropical herb that grows better in dry climates. And as you know, Iran has one of the best climates for saffron cultivation.
- Harvest time: Another main factors of evaluation the quality of saffron is the time and hour of saffron harvest. Saffron flowers should be picked before sunrise and within 2 days of their growth so that they do not wither and their quality does not reduce
Final points about the quality of saffron
Unfortunately, some saffron sellers try to commit many frauds in order to make a good profit. As we said, they can combine the original saffron with some other ingredients such as salt, sugar or even safflower to increase the weight of the saffron. Sometimes stigmas are soaked in honey or sap to make saffron heavier. Some people also use artificial colors to increase the coloring power of saffron. It is recommended to use only healthy and non-powdered stigmas to buy saffron to reduce the possibility of fraud in their preparation. Saffron spray is not a guarantee for their originality. If the price of the saffron you are buying is surprisingly cheaper than other types of models, doubt it. And never forget that if you want to buy a high volume of saffron, ask the seller for a saffron test sheet and check it carefully according to the items mentioned.
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