Saffron is one of the most expensive foods in the world and the most expensive spice. A pound of saffron can start at $1,500. If your restaurant relies on saffron for many of its dishes, you need to be careful with selecting a supplier to not only avoid overpaying, but to ensure you get a quality product. If you are in the market for authentic saffron, here is what you need to know.
How Do You Recognize Authentic Saffron?
Before you start searching for a saffron supplier, you need to know how to detect whether or not the product is real. There are several signs you can look for, but one of the most noticeable is the price. If the price for the saffron seems unreasonably low, chances are, it is not authentic.
Another sign is the appearance of the saffron. It should be available in threads that have a yellow tendril on the end. One end of the thread should resemble a trumpet's horn. By contrast, fake saffron will have a coarser appearance and the threads will be inconsistent.
If you are still unsure whether or not the saffron is real, smell it. Fake saffron is often treated with chemicals to help it duplicate the smell and taste of the real thing. If the saffron has a bark-like odor, it is likely fake.
You can even dip the saffron in warm water to determine if it is real. Real saffron will change the color of the water to yellow within a few minutes of soaking. If this does not occur, the saffron you are being offered is not real.
Should You Buy Ground Saffron?
Ground saffron is commonly sold in grocery stores, but for your restaurant, it might not be the right choice. Whenever saffron is ground, it is often mixed with other types of spices. The other spices could slightly alter the taste of your dishes.
In addition to being more of a mixture of other spices, the ground saffron does not have the same ability to retain its flavor. Once the saffron has been ground, the clock starts ticking on how long it is viable.
Even though you can likely find saffron in stores, the better option for your restaurant is to work with a supplier who can provide you with the actual threads of saffron instead of the grounded product. Depending on the supplier, you might be able to negotiate a better price than you would pay buying directly from a local grocer.
For more information, contact companies like Elegant Products II.