Distinguish Real Saffron Versus Fake
1-Threads Shape: Pure Saffron threads are shaped like trumpet with thicker ends on both side or one.
2- Color: Your fingers will turn light yellow when scrubbing real pure saffron while the fake ones won’t leave any residue on your fingers.
3- Color in Water: add a few threads of premium saffron to the normal temperature water and leave it aside for about 15 minutes. The authentic saffron will turn the water yellow and it keeps getting stronger as the time pass while the saffron threads remain vivid red at the end. If the water turns red or dark orange immediately (in less than 1 minute) and the saffron threads get lighter as time pass.
4-Taste: The taste of Premium Saffron is a bit bitter at the end.
5-Smell: Saffron itself has a sweet smell and light and steady aroma and when added to the water it releases the smell much more.
Never buy ground saffron. Although your recipe may need ground, if you buy Saffron in threads, at least you can authenticate the Pure Saffron. It is almost impossible to distinguish Saffron from fake. Plus, ground saffron, even if it is real, can contain additives such as dyed rice flour, starch or other spices such as turmeric or paprika just to volume up the content.