How Do You Identify Genuine Saffron versus Fake Saffron?

Due to the expensive price of Saffron, it doesn’t take long for unscrupulous people to make money by selling fake saffron. Unfortunately, there are no machines to check for the authenticity of a saffron product. So what can you do? Here are some pointers:

  1. Put a saffron thread in your tongue and if it is sweet… it is FAKE.
  2. Saffron has a distinct aroma, very much like a blend of hay and honey.
  3. Simmer saffron thread in a cup of water. It should colour the water. But most importantly, when you remove it from the water, it should NOT lose its original colour. If it does, then it’s likely fake.
  4. Adding baking soda to a genuine saffron will turn the water yellow. Else, it will become reddish.
  5. Choose saffron with long and unbroken thread with bright red colour.

The shelf life of Saffron doesn’t last forever. Try to use it up within one year of purchase to get the most of its colour and flavor. If not used for a long time, Saffron loses its flavor and color and become brittle.