Written by Sadaf Pack Public Relations

Saffron is a valuable product and it is evident that the profiteers’ selling fake saffron leads to the loss of faith in this product while they can make a lot of money. Thus, it is important to know how to distinguish original saffron from fake saffron. There are some tips that will help you recognize the original saffron. But how can you distinguish real and pure saffron from fake saffron?

Here are some methods you can use in order to easily identify pure saffron:

How do some cheat in saffron sales?

In order to increase the weight of saffron, profiteers and charlatans use different methods. Here are some of these methods:

  1. Adding salt or sugar to saffron powder

This method is used to sell saffron powder, in which tiny impurities are added to saffron in order to make it heavier, and sell fake powder saffron.

2. Adding other plants to saffron

There are many plants whose stamen is similar to saffron. For selling fake saffron, they add color to these strings and sell it as real saffron.

3. Adding color to other parts of saffron

Saffron has different parts. The main part of saffron is “Negin” or the tip of “Negin”. Sometimes, by separating the roots and stiels of saffron and adding a color similar to “Negin”, it is sold as real saffron.

distinguish the fake saffron
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4. Adding fat to saffron

This method is used for increasing saffron’s weight. It is enough to spray a little fat on the dried saffron so that after getting dried, the fat remains on it and the weight of the saffron increases.

How to distinguish fake saffron

As mentioned, due to the fact that saffron is a valuable product, the likelihood of cheating in its supply is high. So, in the following part, we will introduce different methods for recognizing real saffron.

1. Identifying the original saffron by its appearance

One of the ways to differentiate real saffron from fake saffron is by distinguishing it from the appearance of saffron. Sometimes, it may happen that in order to increase the amount of saffron, the profiteers try to moisten the saffron. In this case, saffron strings are heavy and compressed due to their weight and moisture. Thus, saffron loses its crispness and gets a little soft.

In this case, the color of saffron may have spread slightly to the stem or even the container. For this reason, in order to distinguish fake saffron from the original, see if the saffron strings are stuck together or not.

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2. The horn tip of saffron’s branch

Be careful that the tip of the saffron’s branch should be horny. Fake saffron is not like this.

3. Distinguishing fake saffron with gasoline

Saffron does not dissolve in gasoline. Therefore, by dissolving saffron in gasoline, you can decide if your saffron is original or fake.

4. Distinguishing by heating it

When you heat the saffron string, the color of the saffron should not turn yellow. This is a simple method to identify the original saffron.

5. Identification of the original and good saffron with water

#first stage;

Put saffron in water. In some cases it will change the color of the water very quickly; but this color change is not worth it, because this fast color change signifies fake saffron.

#second stage;

Put the root in water for a short time. When you remove the root from the water, the original saffron does not lose its color, while if it is fake, it loses its added color completely and does not look the same.

#third level;

Put a little saffron in boiling water and wait for 5 minutes. If the color of the root does not turn white after 5 minutes, it shows that it is original. If this happens in less than 5 minutes, it means that the saffron is fake.

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6. Identification of the original saffron from fake saffron with the help of baking soda

A very interesting experiment is to add a little baking soda to the water and mix them. Then add saffron to the mixture. The result of blending the original saffron with a mixture of water and baking soda is a yellow liquid, and if the saffron is fake, the color of the mixture will turn dark red.

7. Having a sweet smell but without a sweet taste

One of the practical terms to recognize saffron is the correct use of the term “sweet”. Good saffron should always have a sweet smell, but never a sweet taste.

8. Testing saffron’s fat

Sometimes profiteers add fat to saffron in order to make it heavier. An easy way to detect fake saffron to which fat has been added is to pour some of it on white paper and press it on the paper with a finger for a few seconds. If you see traces of fat on paper, what you have got is fake saffron.

9. Distinguishing original saffron by scientific ways

The scientific method of detecting the original saffron is actually effective for merchants of this realm. These tests are very accurate and help companies in saffron transactions to be supposed to present saffron quality certification and not to launch fake saffron into the market.

Buy original and quality saffron using the following methods

• Buying saffron from valid brands of saffron producers

The first thing is to buy your looked-for saffron from reliable brands and official stores. This helps us a lot in buying the original saffron. The companies, which produce real saffron and work legitimately and with an authorized license, are supposed to provide quality analysis for their saffron, and this means official approval of the quality of saffron, and the possibility of producing fake saffron is zero.

• Not buying bulk saffronw

By buying packed saffron, you are less likely to buy fake saffron. You should know that saffron is more likely to be fake in case it is offered as bulk saffron in stores. It can also sometimes be difficult to identify the original saffron. Consequently, by buying packed saffron from renowned brands, you will be sure of its originality.

The picture below shows an example of saffron polycrystalline containers produced by Sadaf Pack Co. The quality product of Sadaf Pack is offered in Iran as well as in the world market for the production of saffron.

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• Necessity of paying attention to the absence of light in the place of saffron in shops

You may ask, what effect does the store’s lighting have on the quality of saffron? One of the significant points in keeping saffron is that light radiation reduces the quality of saffron. So, if the store from which you buy saffron does not pay attention to the sunlight inside the shop and the saffron is exposed to sunlight, most likely the saffron in question is not of high quality.

Methods for grinding saffron flowers’ roots

• The traditional method of using a mortar

Do not use metal mortars so that saffron does not lose its properties. Stone mortars are a better choice for this.

In order for saffron to be ground better, it is better to add a sugar cube or some sugar in the mortar along with the saffron.

It is better to sift the saffron until it is evenly beaten. This causes the saffron to dissolve completely in the water and have a better color.

• Using an electric gristmill

• Using a spoon

Put some saffron in a plastic bag and crush it with the back of a spoon. The benefit of this method is that all the saffron is ground to the same size and the saffron is not spread and wasted.

Ways of brewing saffron flowers

Saffron is known as the most valuable and one of the best spices in the world. The value of saffron is due to its unique taste and aroma. To use and brew saffron, the first step is to grind it. After that, you can brew saffron in two ways;

• Brewing saffron with boiling water

Mix the ground saffron with a small amount of boiling water so that it gets like a paste. After 5 minutes, add more water. When we add water in two steps, it makes saffron more colorful. In fact, this method can be used to distinguish the original saffron.

• Brewing saffron with ice

Put the crushed saffron in a bowl, pour small pieces of ice on it, now let the ice melt in the open air; this causes saffron to color more and completely. It has been proven by experience that brewing saffron with ice makes it have a better color and taste compared with the old method, which is brewing with boiling water.


Previously, the standards for analyzing the quality of saffron were discussed in detail. When a product is produced and supplied according to international standards, you will make sure that you have provided a quality product. So, Sadaf Pack Co. is recommended to buy saffron packed with world standards.

However, if you have not bought saffron from well-known brands, or have prepared it in bulks or without being packed, consider the suggested methods for recognizing the original saffron. These methods will help you to ensure the quality of saffron with a few simple steps. Analysis of saffron’s quality, Distinguishing saffron’s quality, original saffron, fake saffron, saffron’s quality

You may like to read these article:

The role of saffron packaging in export

Steps of sending and transporting export-grade (export-quality) saffron

This post is also available in: العربية (Arabic)

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