SAFFRON is the 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 a valuable spice with origins in the Zagros Mountains area in “Media” era.
it is the world’s most expensive spice because of its unique properties and because of all the labor that goes into producing it (more than 170,000 flowers make just one kilogram).
The name worldwide of saffron:
The ancient Iranian word was Kurkum, but today it is Zaferan.
Sections of Saffaron
“Sargol” in fact is the saffron concept on the mind of most of people. In this type, style is removed completely and separated red stigma form pure saffron. So, Sargol is all-red type of saffron
“Negin Poushal” is actually a special type of Poushal in which thick strands of red stigma is separated from other strands without any style and bulky saffron is produced. “Poushal Negin” is finest and most precious type of saffron and has highest overall color (230 to 270 units)
“Poushal” consist of red stigma with 1 to 3 mm of yellow style. In comparison with the “Dasteh”, “Poushal” has more relative content of stigma. So Poushal has more overall color which is between 170 to 250 units based on its quality. Attaching stigma to the style and reducing the likelihood of counterfeit, causes some people have more trust to this type of saffron.
“Dasteh” is the main and basic saffron types and is achieved by putting all part of saffron strands over each other and drying them. Normally length of style is about 3 to 5 mm and the stigma can be shorter or longer which determines the product quality.
“Konj” After removing “Sargol” from “Dasteh”, the root part of strands remain. This part is known as “konj” or “Sefid” Saffron in Iran. “Konj” is known as style or white in Europe.
Almost all saffron grows in a belt bounded by the Mediterranean in the west and mountainous Kashmir in the east. All other continents except Antarctica produce smaller amounts. In 1991, Some 300 t (300,000 kg) of whole threads and powder are gleaned yearly, of which 50 t (50,000 kg) is top-grade “coupe” saffron. Iran is by far the world’s most important producer: in 2005 it grossed some 230 tonnes (230,000 kg) of dry threads, or 93.7 percent of the year’s global total mass; much of the Iranian crop was bound for export. In the same year, second-ranked Greece produced 5.7 t (5,700.0 kg). Morocco and the disputed region of Kashmir, tied as the next-highest producers, each produced 2.3 t (2,300.0 kg). In decreasing order, Iran, Greece, Morocco, the Kashmir region in India, Azerbaijan, Spain, and Italy dominate the world harvest.
In Iran, the world’s leading producer, the erstwhile and northeasterly Khorasan Province, which in 2004 was divided in three, grows 95 percent of Iranian saffron: the hinterlands of Birjand, Ghayen, Ferdows in South Khorasan Province, along with areas abutting Gonabad and Torbat-e Heydarieh in Razavi Khorasan Province, are its key cropping areas. Afghanistan has resumed cultivation in recent years; in restive Kashmir it has waned. Despite numerous cultivation efforts in such countries as Austria, England, Germany, and Switzerland, only select locales continue the harvest in northern and central Europe. Among these is the small Swiss village of Mund, in the Valais canton, whose annual saffron output amounts to several kilograms. Microscale cultivation occurs in Tasmania, China, Egypt, France, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey (especially Safranbolu), California, and Central Africa.