Saffron is a highly sought-after spice that is used in various cuisines around the world. Unfortunately, due to its high price, it is also one of the most commonly adulterated spices. This means that there is a significant risk of purchasing fake saffron. Fake saffron is a mixture of various ingredients that are made to look like saffron, but it lacks the unique taste, aroma, and health benefits of real saffron. So, how can you tell if your saffron is real or fake?
One way to distinguish between real and fake saffron is by putting it in infused cold water. Real saffron will not release its color quickly, and the final color should be like liquid gold. The fake ones will quickly release their color, and the color will not be as rich or vibrant as the real thing.
Another way to identify real saffron is by looking at its shape. Real saffron threads are usually long, thin, and trumpet-shaped, with a slightly thicker bulbous end. On the other hand, fake saffron threads may be shorter, thicker, and irregular in shape.
Additionally, real saffron should not be greasy at all. Some fakers add oil, honey, and even artificial colors to saffron to increase its weight and make it look more attractive. These additives can cause the saffron to have a greasy texture and a slightly sweet taste.
Finally, you can taste the saffron to determine if it's real or fake. Real saffron should have a slightly bitter taste with a floral, honey-like aroma. The fake saffron often tastes sweet because fakers spray sugar water on it to make it heavier and improve its taste.
In conclusion, saffron is a valuable spice that can add a unique flavor and aroma to various dishes. However, due to the high price of saffron, it is often adulterated, making it challenging to distinguish between real and fake saffron. By knowing the characteristics of real saffron and testing it using the methods mentioned above, you can be confident in your purchase and ensure you get the most out of this precious spice.