Ninety-five percent of the world’s saffron comes from Iran
It has traditionally been grown in Khorasan, an area (about the size of England) in the north-east of Iran with ideal soil and climate conditions for the crop. Saffron is a valuable spice with origins in Zagros Mountains area in “Mede” era. Saffron which takes a lot of labor to produce, is actually a very small part of the plant Crocus Sativus Lineas and everything about it is really interesting.
Every day during the one-month harvest season that starts around mid-October more than four hundred thousand people in southern Khorasan get up before dawn to go to the fields and pick the beautiful delicate lilac flowers that have bloomed overnight. They must be picked before being exposed to too much sunshine. The flowers are then carried in wicker baskets to the processing areas where the stigmas are patiently removed by hand.
The next step is to gently toast the stigmas in order to dry them before they are tested, sorted, packed and sealed, insuring that the full, unique and exquisite flavor, aroma and color of this “vegetable gold” reaches the consumer.
More About Saffron
Saffron is the name for the threads (stigmas) from the Crocus Sativus flower. There are only 3 saffron stigmas for each individual flower, meaning Saffron is considered one of the rarest spices in the world! In fact, it takes over 80,000 blossoms or 240,000 hand-picked saffron stigmas to make a single pound of this popular product. Ensuring consistent premium quality batches in every single gram!
Saffron is magical spice with the power to promote overall body health; Saffron threads include several natural components that have various uses even as an essential food ingredients or as a magical spice which has been always used as a natural home remedies.Manganese is the main ingredient, as well as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamin B6. These vitamins and minerals all together play the magical benefits of saffron.
SAFFRON is the world’s most valuable spice because of its
unique properties and because of all the labor that goes into producing
it ( more than 170000 flowers make just one kilogram) and Its name given
to the three dried red colored stigmas and part of the white style to
which they are attached of crocus sativus Linnaeus, which flowers just
once a year.
The main characteristics of saffron are: PICROCROCINE (BITTERNESS), SAFRANAL (FLAVOR), CROCINE (COLOR).
Saffron is the dried stigma (red part of the pistil) of Crocus Sativus Linnaeus.
The chemical formula of Saffron reads as C20H24O4 (Crocetin) -C44H64O24 (Crocin) and the extended formula is as follows:
In antiquity, crocus was said to be the name of a beautiful youth. Two different myths connected his fate with the aromatic plant from which we obtain saffron. According to one, the god Hermes loved him, but killed him by mistake and where the body’s blood ran into the earth, the first crocus flower sprang up.
The other story related that Crocus and a nymph, Smilax, were so in love that they never separate. Yet the gods, tired of watching their courtship, ended it by changing Smilax into a yew-bush, and crocus into a saffron crocus.
Saffron the flower of Health.
Since ancient times physicians and chemists have been impressed by the quality and properties of saffron and their beliefs have been confirmed by modern science.
Saffron is used in various medicines and has traditionally been believed to give one a clear complexion, a sense of well-being and exhilaration, and to increase potency.
Scientific studies have confirmed many properties of this amazing medicinal herb, including its anti-carcinogenic effect, anti-cancer, anti-depression, booster of intelligence, and its effect on the body’s resistance to diseases.
Eighty percent of saffron comes from Iran. As the most expensive spice in the world, it has been called the country’s “red gold.”
Prevalent FAQ :
What is Persian saffron?Persian Saffron is taken from the flower of “saffron crocus”. The vivid red stigmas and styles, called threads, are collected and dried to be used in food mostly as a seasoning and colouring agent. It has a sweet flavor. It is the most expensive spice in the world, because it should just be picked by hand, not machines. 250,000 stigmas make only half a kilo of Saffron, that’s why it is so expensive and precious. Iran now accounts for 90% -93% of the world Saffron production.
How to distinguish high quality Iranian Saffron from low grade Saffron?Genuine Persian Saffron threads are all in vivid crimson color with a slightly lighter orange-red color on the tips. This indicates that it’s not colored artificially. But, on the other hand, dull brick red color of Saffron is indicative of age, suggesting you not to buy that.
Aroma is strong and fresh in high quality Persian Saffron and there should not be broken-off debris collected at the bottom of container. Also if you see yellow or white plant parts mixed with the red threads, that is probably a sign of low grade Saffron. High quality Saffron threads are also dry and brittle to the touch, but in low grade one, you may see moister trapped inside for adding dead weight.
Where to buy Saffron in Iran?The main source of Saffron is Mashhad, which is located in north-east of Iran. you can find most of Persian Saffron selling shops around 17 Shahrivar Square in Mashhad. But in other cities like Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd and Tehran you can easily buy Saffron as well.
But there are some problems with the saffron trade. The label on the spice’s origin is often false. The saffron itself is often diluted or replaced with something else entirely. Now there’s a movement called “saffrononics” trying to improve how saffron is grown and traded.