The fact that saffron is almost as expensive as gold has always seduced people to introduce counterfeits to the market. In order to get really good, and above all, high quality, genuine saffron
; you should be careful when shopping!
Therefore, it is best to always buy saffron in threads because this is the only way to see if it is really true saffron or not.
Ground Saffron / powder saffron:
Already ground saffron might also be turmeric, or the saffron might have been adulterated with sugar and salt, and made heavier. Thus, it has also got the yellow colour but doesn’t contain any of the typical saffron flavour.
Furthermore, when buying saffron threads, look to see if the threads have the typical shape of saffron and are not stuck together, or if it appears more like curled leaves.
If the threads are stuck together, it means that the saffron has been sprayed with salt water or cola. This way, up to 10% extra weight can be added to it.
Saffron in bazaars:
At saffron bazaar you can trust the dealer if he undertakes a test with water and baking soda. Here, true saffron fades into a yellow colour whereas a counterfeit changes its colour into a dull red!
Another method of counterfeiting saffron is termed origin falsification. In this case Iranian saffron is often declared as Spanish saffron and Spanish saffron as Kashmir saffron. This is primarily done for financial reasons, since Iranian saffron costs only half as much as Spanish saffron due to lower production prices.
But that does not mean that the Persian saffron is not as good as Spanish saffron, on the contrary: The Persian saffron which we import from Gonabad and Ghaen (Ghayen) has a much higher quality than Spanish saffron.
Saffron in comparison:
The Spanish Coupe Saffron achieved, according to ISO standard 3632-2
- a colouring, Crocin, of about 190
- a flavour, Safranel, of about 39
- a bitterness, Picrocrocin, of about 70
The Persian saffron (Pushal) has, according to ISO standard 3632-2
- a colouring, Crocin, of about 225
- a flavour, Safranel, of about 50
- a bitterness, Picrocrocin, of about 85.
And the Persian Negin and Sargol reach even higher results. For the simple reason that there is not a lot of rainfall in the area of Gonabad and Ghaen (Ghayen).
In addition, there are very high temperatures in the summer and very low ones in winter (precipitation per year is about 250 ml per m˛). In Gonabad and Ghaen (Ghayen) the saffron fields are irrigated twice before harvest and once after harvest. Since the saffron onions get little water but do not suffer from drought, they have very high colour strength, a strong flavour and bitterness.
In the end, it is of course up to you which saffron you buy.