why saffron turns yellow
Written by Vahid Epagloo, Food Consultant Updated:

Saffron is not yellow, when it is brewed it turns yellow. Most people ask why? Actually saffron makes a chemical action in brewing time. This chemical action is safe. The important point about this color changing is that this is the best way to recognize real saffron. In this article, Queen of Flowers helps you some ways to realize real saffron and avoid the fake ones.

The color of saffron

The saffron flower calls Crocus Sativus in botanical. This Crocus flower has purple or lilac color. In the middle of this flower there are 3 stigmas. These stigmas have about 4 centimeters long. Each of them consists of two parts, the saffron thread in the first 3 centimeters and the root part at the end, which has about one centimeter long. The threads of saffron are red and the root par is orange or yellow. These are the color of the different parts of saffron.

When you make saffron water or make it ready to use, the final color should be bright golden yellow. If the color is different, you may make mistakes in making it ready or you bought a bad quality or fake saffron. Before talking about how to make saffron ready, let’s check how to recognize real saffron.

The simplest ways to recognize real saffron and avoid fake saffron

There are different ways to find fake saffron, some of these ways are based on the saffron color and coloring. We gather some of these color-based methods to realize real and fake saffron.

There is a good and bad quality of saffron, and also there is fake saffron. Frauds are colored the saffron roots, wheat and corn sprouts and sells them instead of saffron. They may also combine these fake ones with the bad quality ones and sell them as the high quality saffron. Due to these frauds, you need to know the identification methods of saffron.

diffrences between fake saffron and real saffron ghaaneh super negin saffron

Brewed color

When you add threads of real saffron to hot or cold water, the color of the water does not change immediately. You should wait for 10 to 15 minutes to see the yellow color release into the water. If you add your spice to the water or ice and the color changes at a glance, your spice is fake.

The color of the threads of saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world that is why frauds try to sell fake saffron. The color of the threads is red. You see their color, if you push one of them between your fingers, you can see that your fingers become a bit yellow. This is real saffron.

If your expensive spice is fake, your fingers take no color or become red.

You can also do this test with a towel or piece of paper.

The shape of strands

The shape of real saffron strands is like a trumpet. They have a wide head and a narrow end. These strands are smooth and flat. The strands of fake or bad quality of the golden spice are bent and crumpled. The fake ones are also narrow and burned.

If you check the shape of the threads, you could recognize the best quality of saffron.

The taste of golden spice

When you put a strand of saffron under your tongue, you taste a pleasant bitterness, like a good coffee. You can keep it under your tongue for hours, it does not annoy. It means that the bitter taste of saffron threads is normal and delicious.

The fake ones do not taste like that they have no bitter taste, and you cannot tolerate them more than some minutes.

The aroma

The magical spice has an exotic aroma. If you smell it before you can realize the fake and real saffron. The smell of saffron would not forget.

The frauds, some times, use the root part of the crocus saffron in order to have the fragrant aroma. You should consider the aroma and other recognizing methods together.


The real saffron has a high price. If the sunshine spice has the high quality it would be more expensive. Due to the high price of this spice, it is known as the red gold.

If you find some priceless or cheap saffron, you should doubt about the quality and reality of it.


Try not to buy ground saffron, you should grind it yourself.

Buy your expensive spice from trusted suppliers.

Try to avoid dishonest sellers, you can understand their lies by asking question about their products.

If you want to buy your spice from an online seller, search and ask a lot. Check the costumers ideas.

Why my magical spice does not turn yellow?

Sometimes you brewed your saffron and it does not release the yellow color to the water. When you buy your spice from a trusted supplier and check its reality and quality, you are sure about it, but why it is not make water yellow?

You should first check the expiration date. In addition, you should check the place you store your spice. You should keep it in dark, cold and dry place, in the airtight container. If it is out of date, or kept in warm and humid place under the light, your spice has not its first day quality. These conditions would destroy your expensive spice.


The color of saffron threads is red, but they change the color of cold, warm and hot water to golden yellow color. Real saffron threads need time for color release. There are many great and simple ways to realize real saffron, like the unforgettable aroma of saffron and the shape of the strands, learn and use them to avoid the frauds and dishonest sellers.

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