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How to Identify real Kashmiri Saffron?

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Saffron, also known as Crocus Sativus, is produced in the fields of Pampore region situated in Kashmir, India. It is known for the best grade of saffron in the world for it's silky, smooth and fine stigmas that impart a distinct aroma, flavor, and colour to your dishes. Kashmiri Saffron is produced in a very large scale for commercial purpose in the Kashmir Valley.

There are many grades of Kashmiri Saffron that differ in quality. These grades are derived based on the portion of the saffron stigma they contain.

Classification of Saffron Stigma into Mongra, Laccha & Zarda
Classification of Kashmiri Saffron Stigma

Mongra is the deep crimson-red coloured part of the Crocus Sativus (Saffron) stigma. It is enriched with essential nutrients which gives you all the health benefits, colour, flavor and aroma.

Laccha consists of the mongra portion along with a pale yellow tail segment of the stigma. Laccha is of lower quality than Mongra.

Zarda consists of the stamen, white portion of the stigma and parts of Laccha.

Mongra is the purest and the most expensive grade of saffron due to it's diligent procurement process.

Bell Saffron always strives to provide you with pure and natural Kashmiri Mongra Saffron. However, you may find various fake and adulterated saffron in the market. You deserve to experience the real essence of saffron and not get deceived by poor quality saffron.

You can test and identify real Kashmiri Saffron by some simple observations:

  • The saffron strands must be deep crimson-red in colour. The pale yellow and white parts of the stigma are floral waste. Hence, real Kashmiri Saffron contains only the crimson-red portion which is called Mongra.

  • The saffron strands must not be dry and break by touch.

  • Real Kashmiri Saffron threads ideally take 15-20 minutes to completely infuse their colour, flavor and aroma into the solution. If the threads immediately release colour, then it's likely an adulterated quality of saffron.

  • The saffron threads must retain their colour when soaked in warm water/milk. If the strands disintegrate or start to lose their colour when steeped, it's not real Kashmiri Saffron.

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has set standards to test and certify the quality of saffron (IS:5453). Look for the laboratory tested and BIS certified stamp in the saffron that you are buying.

  • Saffron is a very delicate commodity that requires a diligent procurement and packaging process. The packaging should follow Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Do check for FSSAI logo on the saffron pack.

Saffron strands being separated from the flower
Saffron strands being separated from the flower

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