Saffron

First, what is saffron?
Saffron is a small, bulbous, perennial spice, a member of the lily family. To produce saffron, the stigmas [the part of the flower which catches pollen] must be painstakingly handpicked, cut from the white style and then carefully laid on a sieve and cured over heat to deepen the flavor- a process so labor intensive that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.
At a price of $2,000 to $10,000 a pound, saffron is far and away the most expensive food on earth, way more than truffles, caviar, and real balsamic vinegar.
Currently saffron is commercially produced in Iran, Greece, Morocco, Spain, Kashmir and Italy. Iran is the most important producer of saffron both, in terms of volume and quality, and Spain being the largest importer of the spice.

 

The image on the right above is what real saffron looks like. The threads are fine and even in size, with a thin yellow tendril on one end and a trumpet-like flute on the other. Compare that to some fraudulent saffron on the left: coarse, irregular threads, tiny shreds of something almost bark-like. The yellow bits aren't even connected to the red threads, a sure sign of fraud. The fake stuff often smells like bark with some chemical additives thrown in (basically what it is); real saffron will tickle your nose even through a layer of plastic.
Your major purchasing decision will be country of origin. When one can find Iranian saffron, that's his/her top choice. The color is a deeper red and spice's telltale musk (a fantastic corrective to its sweet perfume) is more pronounced. The next step down (though only the nitpickiest would call it a downgrade) is Spanish saffron, which is high quality, relatively available, and strictly regulated.

 

Persian saffron has no rival when it comes to its excellent flavor, mesmerizing color and outstanding quality. Iran usually tends to be the biggest producers and exporters of many of its domestic products. Saffron is no different. Iran covers about 70% of the world’s 250 tons of saffron production annually. It is said that classical Persian is the very first language that has the use of saffron (or Zaferan, as more commonly known around Iran) registered in the cooking department. There are a few points that matter when it comes to the quality of saffron.

 

We will name two:

  • 1. The age and maturity and the saffron is a very important point.

  • 2. The mass of style cultivated alongside the saffron is vital to the quality

There are 3 different types of saffron that can be cultivate in Iran:

Iranian Negin Saffron

Iranian Pushali Saffron

Negin: this is considered the top notch quality, which consists only of the red stigmas of the saffron crocus. Negin literally translates as “top of the flower”. Our Iranian saffron is made up of the red stigmas which have been professionally cut and separated from the style prior to drying. Stigmas cut this way don’t trap the moisture inside. If stigmas stay attached to the style, it keeps inside up to 30-50% dead weight and you pay for it. We only sell the stigmas (threads). Coloring power is the only measuring tool that assures you of consistent saffron quality.

Sargol: This saffron is Negin saffron, but the only difference is that its stigma is shorter.

Pushali: this brand is also mostly red stigmas, along with a small amount of yellow style.

Apart from enhancing the features of dishes magnificently, saffron also has many medical uses. It is used to reduce a number of health sicknesses, and is used as a remedy to cure insomnia and reduce stress. Saffron is also a useful substance when it comes to weight loss, and fitness since it has an appetite receding effect. It is also of great use in the cosmetics and skin care facility as the various masks.

Persian saffron and other saffron differences:

  • Persian Saffron threads are all vivid crimson color with a slightly lighter orange-red color on the tips. This indicates that it’s not cheap saffron that has been tinted red to look expensive

  • Aroma is strong and fresh.

  • No broken-off debris collected at the bottom of container.

  • No other yellow or white plant parts mixed in with the red threads.

  • Fresh and current season's threads.

  • Saffron threads are dry and brittle to the touch.

Other saffron:

  • Saffron threads displaying telltale dull brick red coloring which is indicative of age.

  • Aroma is musty.

  • Broken-off debris is collected at the containers bottom, indicative of age-related brittle dryness.

  • Yellow and white plant parts are not separated from the stigmas to add dead weight.

  • Not a current season threads.

  • Have moister trapped inside for adding dead weight