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Ensuring Quality: Purity Standards of Kashmiri Saffron

Ensuring Quality: Purity Standards of Kashmiri Saffron

Ensuring Quality: Purity Standards of Kashmiri Saffron

Saffron is an indigenous spice harvested in the fields of Kashmir of the Pampore region. The silky smooth texture of the saffron strands with the vibrant red colour makes it the best quality saffron around the world. Extracted from the Crocus Sativus flower, saffron is the most expensive spice globally. Most of the saffron produced in Kashmir is exported, earning India generous profits.

Now, here is the catch. The harvesting of saffron is an extremely laborious task, making it a low-yielding spice. Hence, the market is adulterated with fake saffron that does not deliver similar taste, colour, and aroma as the real one. With high-profit margins, Kashmiri saffron makes a huge market. Thus, we have profiteers encouraged to make the most of the scenario.

Thankfully, there are ways to determine authentic Kashmiri saffron! In other words, you can evaluate the quality and purity of the saffron you just bought. Check out this post to learn about them. You can keep away from fraud!

Why Is Kashmiri Saffron So Expensive?

Do you know it takes 170,000 Crocus Sativus flowers to make 1kg of saffron? Yes, the process of extracting the stigma of the saffron flower is a highly labour-intensive task. Each flower consists of three stigmas. It means from a single flower, you get only three strands of saffron. The stigmas are hand-picked so that it does not affect other parts of the plant.

The cultivation and harvesting of the saffron flower is considerably time-consuming. Being an entirely non-automated procedure, you can acknowledge the amount of hard work that goes into the successful extraction of the dried stigmas.

Nonetheless, despite its complicated harvesting procedure, saffron is in high demand across the world. Why not? Apart from the sweet aroma and lavish flavour, the spice is rich in nutrients like vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, safranal, crocin, etc. Thus, organic saffron possesses diverse health benefits. Including it in your diet enhances mood, promotes better sleep, fights anxiety and depression, delays ageing, relieves pain, reduces nerve disorders, and others.

The above reasons make organic Kashmiri saffron so expensive that we have fake and adulterated alternatives at a cheaper cost.

Checking the Purity of Saffron

Due to its exorbitant price, saffron is often called ‘red gold’. The purest form of saffron meets the standards of ISO 3632. It means the saffron is in its purest form without additives. Typically, the Mongra section of the saffron stigma is considered the highest grade. It is crimson-red and offers extensive health benefits along with aroma, flavour, and colour.

There are numerous ways to determine the purity of saffron:

  • Touch and Rub Test- When you touch the saffron strands, it should not feel too dry. Instead, it must feel smooth and silky. Also, as you rub them between your hands, pure saffron strands do not break or disintegrate. 
  • Colour Discharge- Whether you soak saffron in cold water or warm milk, saffron discharges colour very slowly. The water or milk does not turn red but becomes yellow after 15 to 20 minutes. Fake saffron will instantly change the colour of the liquid.
  • Colour Retention- Whenever you buy Kashmiri saffron online, check the colour of the strands after soaking in milk or water. The strands must remain bright red despite discharging colour. If the strands fade or become white, the product is not genuine.
  • Taste- Chew a few strands. How does it taste? Is it sweet? Is it bitter? Original saffron has a bitter taste with a sweet aroma. But, if the saffron tastes sweet, it is probably sugar or honey-coated to increase its weight. Hence, you do not have the original saffron.

Saffron is indeed a valuable spice with a huge global market. However, by educating yourself about fake products, you can take a significant step to curtail adulteration.

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