How to tell if your Saffron is impure
Due to the high price of the spice, some profiteers cheat to make more profit. It’s so important to know how to choose the right product and not to be fooled by these dishonesties.
The Saffron Express team gives you the good news that these tricks are easily recognizable. In the following, we will acquaint you with these methods.
It’s the most dangerous way to cheat.
If there is any artificial color used, its low staining power indicates it. A laboratory can also detect it.
These artificial colors are very threatening to human health.
2. Mixing with corn stigma
Due to the similarity of the stigmas with other plants such as corn, some people try to increase the value of their saffron crop by adding corn stigmas to it.
3. Making the product heavier
One way to cheat in this industry is to dip its stigmas in some kind of fat, sugar, salt, or honey and increase its weight.
4. Faking with American Saffron
Unlike the names, the two plants are very different from each other in terms of composition and effects, American saffron is completely different from Persian one, but they look the same.
In a study conducted by Salehi Sourmaghi* et al. In 1996 at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran, on saffron essential oil, the very important result was that saffronal substance, which is considered a toxic substance, is very low in Iranian saffron or does not exist at all. While the percentage of this substance in some cases in other countries of the world is relatively high. This clarifies the preference of Iranian saffron over other ones.
Read also: The soil impact on saffron cultivation
5. Adding string-shaped materials to the product
In this method, string-like materials that are almost similar in appearance to Crocus sativus are added to a small amount of original saffron. Counterfeit herbal ingredients added to the spice usually include marigold, turmeric, poppy, grenade, rubia tinctorum, corn, carthame, straw, safflower, cloves, and wheat root.
Fortunately, there are easy ways to identify the original saffron
- Original spice has a bitter taste and sweet aroma. Having any other taste, like sweetness or saltiness indicates the impurity.
- Use a straw paper. Put some Crocus sativus on straw paper and fold it, then gently press the paper. If you see a greasy effect on the paper after opening it, your purchase is counterfeit.
- As we mentioned before in the Botanical Qualities, the stigma has 3 branches and the end of it is trumpet-shaped.
- Another appearance that we have to keep in mind, is that the strands are curved, but the corn cobs are straight-formed.
- If the stigmas are too shiny, there is room for doubt and it should be sent to a lab.
- Place the pieces on the methane gas flame. If that is pure, it will turn purple or orange, which is related to potassium; But if it is counterfeit, it turns yellow.
- Crocus sativus does not dissolve in petrol! You can use this quality to tell if your product is pure or not.
- Pour some Crocus sativus in boiling water and wait for a couple of minutes. If the color of the saffron strands turns white, it is counterfeit because the color of the original saffron does not change quickly.
- Baking soda is one of the solvents of Crocus sativus. The original saffron tuns yellow in baking soda, while counterfeit one turns bright red.
Read also: Management Techniques to Grow Saffron
We hope you find this article useful. Please let the Saffron Express team know if you know any experience about fake product, or if you know any other way to tell if the product is 100% pure or not.
*Dr. MohamadHossein Salehi Sourmaghi – phD in Pharmacy and Faculty Member of the School of Pharmacy