Saffron (Crocus sativus) is a species of crocus. The name saffron comes from Persian and means to be yellow or to become yellow. Crocuses are grown in huge fields, mainly in Iran (90%) and Spain. By buying saffron you can enjoy the various benefits it offers.
Where Does Saffron Come From?
The spice, also known as saffron, is obtained from the stigmas of its violet flowers. These stigmas belong to the female part of the flower and only these may be used for the precious spice. The male stamens are tasteless and tone down the quality of the spice.
The crocus flowers are picked by hand. It takes up to 200,000 crocus blossoms to produce one kilo of saffron. These grow on approx. 1000 square meters of cultivation area. The laborious manual work, top pickers managing a maximum of 80g a day, make the saffron very expensive.
The flowers only bloom two days a year. The complete harvest takes place within two weeks in October or November. To avoid strong sunlight, the flowers are harvested in the morning on the first day of their flowering period and then dried. For storage, they are best packed in airtight containers.
What’s in Saffron?
The saffron threads contain many different volatile, ethereal aromatic substances and ultimately determine the typical taste of the precious spice. The carotenoids contained in the threads can account for up to 10% of the total mass. Crocetin, a breakdown product of carotenoids, is largely responsible for the intense color which you can observe by buying saffron.
How Does Saffron Taste?
Saffron owes its typically intense taste to safranal, an essential oil. This flavoring compound accounts for up to 70% of the total mass of dry saffron. Saffron has a very special aroma and should be dosed very carefully. It tastes slightly bitter-aromatic but smells sweet.
What are the Applications of Buying Saffron?
In Medicine: Saffron has a long history as a medicinal plant. Saffron first appeared in historical writings of the “Boar Papyrus” (1500 BC) from Egypt as a remedy for kidney problems. In its native countries, people drink saffron milk for coughs and respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Today, buying saffron and saffron extracts are used in homeopathy for several applications: Saffron is said to have pain-relieving properties as well as diuretic and diaphoretic effects. It is said to have a positive effect on digestive problems, for example helping with stomach problems, loss of appetite, and flatulence. The bitter substances in saffron also support liver function. The substances contained, especially crocetin, are said to improve the oxygen supply and blood circulation.
Studies indicate an anti-carcinogenic effect of saffron. Crocetin inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Studies from Iran and America show that saffron can increase serotonin levels. This means saffron may help relieve flare-ups.
It should also be mentioned that saffron has been used as an aphrodisiac since time immemorial.
Caution – too much saffron is harmful
By buying saffron and taking more than 5g, you may experience dizziness, a reduction in heart rate, nosebleeds, and nausea. The same applies to saffron: the dose makes the poison.
Saffron in the kitchen: According to an old children’s song, saffron not only makes cakes gel but also goes well with rice and fish dishes. For decorative purposes, you can swell some saffron threads in liquid and then place them on the food or the edge of the plate.
Typical Dishes with Saffron
Saffron is an indispensable part of some well-known dishes, especially from the Mediterranean region. French bouillabaisse requires saffron, as does Spanish paella and Italian risotto Milanese. In addition, saffron refines many meat and fish soups and is also suitable for sauces with shellfish and crustaceans. In Central Asia and India, saffron is often used to color rice dishes.
Why is Buying Saffron So Expensive?
It takes up to 200,000 crocus blossoms to produce one kilo of saffron. These grow on approx. 1000 square meters of cultivation area. In addition, the harvest is carried out entirely by hand without the use of machines. This makes it the most expensive spice in the world. The more intermediaries who want to earn money from selling the saffron, the more expensive buying saffron becomes.
Real and Fake Saffron
With a product that can be sold for as much as saffron, it is clear that counterfeiters and scammers are not far away. Fake or stretched saffron may contain colored grass husks, dyer’s safflower, or marigolds (calendula), among other things. Curcuma, the so-called “Indian saffron” is often sold as real saffron because of its yellow color. All of these products can imitate the color, but not the taste and certainly not the inimitable aroma of real saffron.
Anyone who buys cheap saffron saves at the wrong end because they are buying at least inferior, if not counterfeit saffron. So, you save at the wrong end, because saffron is quite productive. A pinch or half a teaspoon is enough to give a dish the typical saffron aroma and the typical golden yellow saffron color. The best way to buy saffron is in specialist shops or online distributors such as Sharona Group.
Some Tips to Protect Yourself from Fake Saffron
• Always buy whole saffron threads; not powdered saffron!
• Good and real saffron are expensive. A guiding value is around 4 euros per gram.
• buying saffron from delicatessens, specialized spice shops, or trustworthy online shops is very much recommended.
The quality of the saffron is internationally assessed according to ISO 3632 in four levels from IV (worst quality) to I (best quality). The criterion for this classification is the content of the yellow pigment (crocin) in the saffron. In Spain, saffron is divided into the following qualities (in descending order): Coupe, La Mancha, Rio, Standard, and Sierra.
Buying Saffron from Sharona Group
Sharona’s products are manufactured by experts at a reasonable price and product quality guarantee, which is why after buying saffron from us, you will not regret your choice. Original saffron without intermediaries by our trading group, which is active in the field of producing all kinds of saffron, gives you the best quality and the right price at the same time.
For more information about the quality of the products, contact us at +982122179204.