Spotting Counterfeit Saffron
As is the case with most things of value, saffron is susceptible to infringement by counterfeiters hoping to make easy money by misleading would-be saffron purchasers into buying something else entirely. Use these tips to learn how to distinguish fake saffron from the real thing.
Buy Saffron In Threads
Only when buying saffron in threads will you be able to determine if it is genuine. Real saffron threads resemble strings, whereas imposter saffron will have curled leaves. This fake saffron is called safflower and will often have a downy texture, which comes from the remnants of safflower petals.
Use Your Nose
Genuine saffron will have a distinctive aroma, something like a cross between honey and hay. Do not purchase the "saffron" being offered if you are unable to detect this wonderful aroma.
Genuine saffron will change the color of a baking soda and water mixture to yellow. Safflower will change the water to a dim red. This is another sure way to determine if the saffron you are attempting to buy is indeed genuine.
If you make a point of being a cautious buyer and being alert to anything that seems amiss, you will be able to find true saffron and not be taken in by a counterfeiter.