If you are looking to add saffron to your diet, there are many ways to do that. You can brew saffron as tea or add this spice to your food and drinks. But before you search online to buy saffron in the USA, there are many things that you should know about. Saffron buying can be tricky because many dealers need to be more trustworthy and credible.
Where can you get saffron from?
Saffron grows in the US, but most of the saffron we find in the market grows in countries like Afghanistan and India, where labor is cheap. That's because, besides being rare, harvesting this spice requires manual labor.
Importing “saffron for sale” in the US isn't possible for a few countries, but one can do so when traveling or via family members and friends. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot find saffron in the USA.
You can always buy saffron in the USA in the best grocery stores, which are marketed as "negin" in stores, or you can even buy saffron online from reputed dealers. Before you start buying it online or in stores, you need to know some important things about the spice so that you don't get scammed.
Dos and don’ts of buying saffron:
Saffron isn’t the same everywhere; it will vary in value and quality from place to place. If you love the spice, it’s probably because of its rich aroma, flavor, and color. However, to buy saffron online in the USA, you must know specific guidelines.
Dos of buying saffron:
- Study the threads: One of the first things to consider is the saffron threads. These are uniform in length and are of deep red color with lighter-colored tips. Pure saffron is handpicked. Therefore the color is red, and no alteration is made with the purity. If the red is uniformly bold, it is actually of pure quality.
- Check the middlemen involved: You need to understand that the saffron's price isn't just related to its quality, rather, it also depends on where it was harvested and the number of middlemen it had to pass through to get delivered to you.
- Do check for authenticity: Saffron may be a miracle spice with a host of medicinal properties, but it is very rare and hard to get. Only 3-4 stigma strands are obtained from a single crocus. This is why the harvesters must get thousands of crocus simply to produce a single gram of this spice. This is also why you will find a lot of fake saffron in the market. You need to be especially cautious when you buy it online because you cannot feel the texture or smell the aroma.
- Do buy them fresh: If you are going to the market, you should only choose fresh ones. The uniqueness of saffron lies in its lengthy strings. When you buy fresh saffron, the concentration of antioxidants and vitamins in them will be maximum. Long threads emit an excellent flavor and refreshing scent. Once you have purchased the saffron, you need to store it in airtight containers to retain the aroma.
Don’ts of buying saffron:
- Don't go by the red and yellow colors you will see in most pictures of saffron. Yellow strands are the styles that are harvested from the plant, but these are not real saffron threads. The orange color comes from the stigma, the saffron we use. Given the high costs of the spice, many traders don't extract the yellow threads and sell these along with red ones. So, when buying Best saffron, remember to choose only dark red threads, not yellow ones.
- Don't buy saffron in powdered form. Like any spice, saffron in a powdered form will have fewer antioxidants and be far less effective. Moreover, the crocus in powdered form can be contaminated with fillers which the buyer won't be able to detect. When that happens, you will pay a fortune for an inferior quality saffron that won't give you the desired benefits. However, if you want to use saffron powder, you should buy it only from a reputed supplier with positive buyer ratings. Don't buy the powder if it looks like it has been dyed.
- Don't buy saffron when it smells very sweet. Genuine saffron isn't sweet; it has a unique aroma that is very intense and strong, like honey. You can try this test only if you are not buying saffron online. When the strands taste excessively sweet, it's possible that the quality isn't good, and the saffron is probably fake.
- Don’t get tricked by fraudsters when you buy saffron online. Always choose certified A+ grade saffron. At times, traders make saffron heavier by not draining it of moisture, and wet saffron is weightier and can fool unsuspecting buyers. The best way to protect yourself against fraud is to look at the certifications; pure saffron is ISO3632 standard. The saffron must conform to this standard's requirements because the testing methods used to check this are very stringent. This standard evaluates the saffron's aroma, taste, and color.
Use these easy guidelines to buy good quality saffron online to enjoy this spice's many health benefits. If unsure about its genuineness, you can perform some tests yourself once you get the package. For instance, dip the threads in warm water or milk and let them sit for a while. The saffron is genuine if the strands retain the color and the water's color changes slightly. If however, the colors change rapidly, it suggests the saffron has been dyed.
Whether you buy the saffron threads from a physical store or online through a reputed dealer, remember not to be taken in by incredibly low prices. Cheap saffron shouldn't be trusted; this is an exotic and rare spice that is expensive. So, be ready for the pocket pinch when you buy saffron the next time.