Saffron - Discerning the Real from the Fake in 6 easy steps

Exotic BioNaturals

Saffron - Discerning the Real from the Fake in 6 easy steps

Saffron( Safran, Azafra`n, زعفران ) also referred to as RED GOLD traces its origins from ancient 7th century BC texts during the bronze age and spans many cultures, continents, and civilizations. Saffron, a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus flower (Crocus Sativus), has remained among the world's most costly spices throughout history. But, as an object of desire it can also be a victim of fraud. Low quality saffron is often traded on international markets, and the specifications for pure saffron are not always respected.

Its high value has made saffron the object of frequent adulteration.

The factors which are very important in saffron are crocin (color),picrocrocin (flavor) and safranal (aroma). Higher amount of these compounds in saffron provide higher quality of saffron.Grading of saffron is done through gauging Picrocrocin (flavor), Crocin (color) and Safranal (aroma) content. This is done in the laboratory by ISO professionals, and the higher the number of these 3 factors means the higher the saffron quality. 

The International Standards Organisation (, Geneva) has set out the testing of saffron quality in two detailed documents (ISO 3632-1 and -2). These set out a test for the content of three biologically active molecules in saffron - picrocrocin, safranal and crocin. Using UV spectrometry, the test measures the concentrations of these three molecules in a standard aqueous extraction. The highest quality saffron is designated Category 1 by the ISO.

According to the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) the minimum requirement for coloring strength is 190-220 to be considered Grade 1. 

Yellow saffron aka American saffron aka Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) looks like the real thing (Crocus sativus) but is dirt cheap. Flavor is almost neutral, but it does have similar coloring abilities to the real thing.

There are many other simple & proven ways to test the quality of saffron without any expensive lab tests. I have categorized these tests into 2 groups – Sensory and Extrasensory.

Using our sensory perceptions of Sight-Smell-Taste and extrasensory techniques of Cold Water Method, Float Test & Baking soda water test.


1. Sight 

The price of Saffron greatly varies by the cut of the Saffron stigma or thread/filament.

Grade 1 or A+ or All Red(Sargol or Negin): All red saffron that contains stigmas only. This grade of Saffron is100% Premium Saffron. This is also natively know as Super-Negin or Sargol Saffron. It is the top 1/3 or 2/3 part of the Saffron filament. It is highly priced due to its potent color & aroma. It is the purest and finest quality saffron.

Grade 2 or A or Thread (Pushal) : Class A or Grade 2 Saffron contains the red stigmas and connected to the end part of the style that is yellow/ white in color. This category of saffron is also costly and mostly used for daily cooking use and available in most of the leading grocery stores nationwide.

Grade 3 or B or Tied bunch ( Dasteh): Contains the red stigmas connected to the entire style. This is typically low cost and low quality and available in all major local grocery stores. It overall weight of the thread contains more floral matter(Style). It's typical use is in perfumes(attars) , fragrances, incense & aromatic flavors.

A better visual test is looking at the shape of the filaments, which should be trumpet shaped and vivid Crimson Red with a slightly lighter orange-red color on the tips, and saffron's aroma must be strong and fresh not musty.

Whenever it is mixed in a glass of hot milk, a strand of reddish saffron changes to golden color, which means it is pure.

2. Smell - While the color is mainly due to the degraded carotenoids (crocin and crocetin), the flavor comes from the carotenoid oxidation products (mainly safranal and the bitter glucoside picrocrocin). Pure saffron aroma is very interesting. If you know what Honey smells like, and you also know what hay smells like…you would know what Real Saffron Aroma is. It is literally a blend of hay and honey smells.

3. Taste - Saffron contains Crocus compound (i.e. Crocin) which makes it taste bitter. Pure saffron tastes bitter, and the flavor is quite distinct. Precisely the taste is light, cutting, warm, bitter and it then slowly dissipates from your palette.  To determine if the saffron is genuine, all you need to do is ask the vendor for 3 or 4 threads of saffron which you put on your tongue and suck on for a few seconds. You will experience a sharp, bitter taste on your taste buds. Then spit the threads out onto a clean paper-tissue and rub them inside the tissue. If the paper tissue color appears yellow, you know you are buying genuine saffron. If the color appears red, you are being sold colored threads.

4. Cold Water Test - Put Saffron in water. After 5-10 mins, real saffron filaments will color the water in a yellowish-golden hue. The color release would be slow and steady without the saffron threads losing its own deep reddish color. Also when you take the thread out of the water, it wouldn’t have lost its original deep-red color, whereas if the Saffron is fake, it would completely or partial discoloration of the saffron thread would happen and the saffron would lose it original deep red color. Dyed Corn Silk threads are sometimes sold as fake saffron.



5. Float Test : Another test of real Saffron is the Float Test that real saffron threads do not drown when put in water. They would rather float. Fake Saffron threads would partially or completely submerge in water because of the heaviness of the colored dye or the floral wastage on them. 

6. Baking Soda Test : A very interesting test is to add a little baking soda in water and mix it. Then add saffron to the mixture. The water/baking soda mix shall turn yellow if it’s Pure Saffron and the fake one will turn dim red.

The Saffron available on are Category 1- Super Negin Grade, meaning that they contain less than 0.5% flower parts and less than 0.1% other extraneous matter.

So How Can You Tell Top Quality Saffron?
Well first you should learn how to recognize a lesser quality saffron. In addition to the red stigmas you should also look for lots of white or yellow strands and even a mushy texture (this is due to a higher water moisture content used to add weight to the product). As mentioned earlier the yellow is from the style which provides no flavor or aroma – too much yellow or moistness are both sure signs of a lower grade saffron.

Top grade saffron possesses a deep red color, is dry to the touch and the stigmas will be 3/8" to 1/2" in length.
While this grading is now the standard many sophisticated home cooks and top quality chefs reject such lab test results. They look at saffron more like wine connoisseur and prefer to sample saffron threads for taste, aroma, pliability and color.

For a Free 0.5 Gms Sargol Saffron Sample Click here

Newer Post


  • download facebook spy tool

    free vpn software for windows 10 downloaddownload adobe pdf converter for windows 10tarzan game free download for windows xp full version freedownload zedge for windows 10age of empires 1 free download full version for windows 7 freeintel r uhd graphics 620 windows 10 10.0 driver downloadchromium free download for windows 10all pc games free download listwindows 7 update download 32 bit freedrums app for pc free download
    google earth free download for windows 10 64 bit

    bluestacks full setup free download for pc

    batman arkham knight download pc free full game

    edge pc game download

    cs go download free for windows 10

    hp laserjet p1005 driver download for windows xp free

    download microsoft windows xp service pack free

    yandere simulator download pc windows 7

    brother mfc 7340 driver download windows 10

    download free symantec antivirus for pc

    graphics download windows 10
    download free spybot for windows 10
    microsoft windows xp recovery disc download free
    microsoft themes free download windows 7 free
    battle realms pc game download

    mario game download for pc windows 10
    download internet explorer 7 for windows 10 64 bit
    destruction derby pc game download
    microsoft access for windows 10 free download
    download harry potter game for windows 10

    download vlc windows 8.1 free
    download latest windows 10 iso in all languages
    hay day game for pc windows 10 free download
    gcmob for windows pc free download
    windows 10 download upgrade free free

    free sql download for windows 10
    download free dvd decoder for windows media player 10
    sony media go download windows free
    instagram for windows 7 free download free
    will my download continue in sleep mode windows 10 free

    chamber of secrets pc game download

    download realtek hd audio driver windows 10 64 bit

    download excel free pc

    adobe photoshop free download for windows 10 crack

    download game motocross pc

    windows gadgets download 7 free

    download atikmpag sys windows 10

    igi 1 full game download for windows 10

    free download chrome for windows 10

    android root pc software free download


  • adobe reader 9 free download for windows 8.1 freedownload mysql client windows freegoogle chrome version 74 download windows 10download pc games without torrentarma game download for pcfree download skype for business windows 10dj system software for pc free downloaddownload powerpoint 2007 free full version for windows xp freedownload windows 10 for usb bootdownload hyper v for windows 7 free
    icloud download pc windows 7 free

    befunky app for pc free download

    easy recovery essentials free download windows 10

    barbie detective pc game free download

    bejeweled 3 download for windows 10

    download gta 4 for windows 10

    logic pro x 10.4 download windows

    google earth pro free download full version for windows 10

    can you download gta 5 on pc for free

    download incognito browser for windows 10

    best sniper games for pc free download full version
    download center microsoft windows 10
    fl studio free download windows 10
    download windows 10 home 64 bit full version iso
    dakar rally game pc download free

    3d boxing games free download for pc
    genetec video player download windows 10
    typing master pro download for pc windows 10
    vice city download for pc windows 7
    download game naruto untuk pc

    hello english app for pc windows 10 free download
    windows 7 outlook express free download free
    clonezilla download for windows 10
    amd graphics card download for windows 10 64 bit 2019
    free download strategy games for pc windows 10

    facebook beta windows 10 download
    windows for vista free download free
    bluej download windows 10
    youtube app for windows 7 free download free
    download microsoft toolkit for windows 10 pro

    download visual studio code for windows 10

    demo games download for pc free

    download windows 8 for pc 64 bit full version

    dx10 for windows xp download free

    attack on titan game download pc latest version

    download free baking games for pc

    download icon recycle bin windows 10

    download hangout for pc windows 8.1

    candy crush saga pc game free download full version

    free windows xp professional edition download free


  • lexmark pinnacle pro901 driver download windows 10dx10 download windows 10 64 bitpubg mobile download pc windows 10animation maker software free download for windows 10internet explorer 11 download windows 7 32 bit free freefree otome games for pc downloaddownload windows xp professional dansk freedownload safari 2012 for windows 7 freewindows 8 apk download for pcautodesk autocad software for pc free download
    canon mp620 driver download windows 10

    download an iso file for windows 10

    campus life game download for pc

    canon mp navigator ex windows 10 download

    download windows xp system disk free

    call of duty 2 free download for pc

    download windows 10 pro lite

    download windows 10 mct

    free download of vista themes for windows xp free

    google chrome download and install for windows 10

    download wallpaper 4k windows 10
    download google chrome for windows 10 pro
    download roblox on pc for free
    download driver canon ir 2525 windows 10 64 bit
    konica minolta bizhub c220 driver windows 10 64 bit download

    galaxy shooter game download for pc
    download usb driver for windows 10 64 bit
    english uk language pack windows 10 download
    download sims 4 city living free pc
    download windows xp pro 64bit free

    dinosaur hunting games pc free download
    download steam for windows 10 64 bit
    avg 64 bit download windows 10
    internet explorer windows vista 32 bit download free
    hola vpn download for windows 10

    free 2010 powerpoint download for windows 7 free
    paint tool sai free download windows 10 free
    mumble download for windows 7 free
    uc browser hd for windows 10 pc free download
    codec download for xp windows free

    download norton family for windows 10

    download arial font for windows 10

    hyper v manager download windows 10 home

    gimp 2 download for windows 10

    3d pinball for windows space cadet download free

    download wechat for pc windows 7

    free download windows os xp free

    detective pikachu game download for pc

    dell audio drivers for windows 7 32 bit free download free

    arial zawgyi font free download for windows 10


  • камень дерево знакам зодиака
    знак зодиака камни весы
    рыбы знак зодиака камни
    близнецы знак зодиака камень
    для знаков зодиаков камни

    камень агат знаки зодиака
    камень знак зодиака дева
    знак рыба камень зодиака
    камень знаку зодиака овен
    камни знаки зодиака телец

    камни знака зодиака овен

    камень знак зодиака тельца

    камень знака зодиака близнец

    знаки зодиака какой камень
    камень рыба знака зодиака
    сердолик камень знак зодиака
    знаки зодиака козерог камни
    агат камень знаки зодиака


  • знаки зодиака камень стрелец
    камень знак зодиака топаз
    камень лабрадорит знак зодиака
    зодиак знаки камни лев
    камни знаку зодиака лев

    камни знак зодиака женщина
    камни знаков зодиака агат
    камни водных знаков зодиака
    камень знаков зодиака рак
    камень змеевик знаки зодиака

    12 камней знаков зодиака

    знак зодиака камень аметист

    камень дерево знак зодиака

    камень знаков зодиака таблица
    знак зодиака какой камень
    камень знака зодиака стрельца
    знаки зодиака дева камни
    морганит камень знак зодиака


Leave a Comment