Elegant Products 100% Genuine Saffron

Name in Intl Languages

  • Botanical Name : Crocus Sativus L
  • Family Name : Iridaceae
  • Commercial Part : Stigma
  • Arabic : Zafran
  • Chinese : Fan Hung-Hua
  • Dutch : Saffraan
  • French : Safran
  • German : Safran
  • Italian : Zafferano
  • Japanese : Safuran
  • Portuguese : Acofrao
  • Russian : Shafran
  • Spanish : Azafran
  • Swedish : Saffran
  • Bengali : Jafran
  • Gujarati : Keshar
  • Hindi : Zaffran
  • Kannada : Kumnkuma kesari
  • Kashmiri : Kong
  • Malayalam : Kunkumapoove
  • Marathi : Keshar, Kesara
  • Punjabi : Kesar, Zafran
  • Sanskrit I : Keshara, Kunkuma
  • Sanskrit II : Aruna, Asra, Asrika
  • Tamil Kungumapoo
  • Urdu Zafran, Jafranekar

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saffron

What is Saffron?

Like most of the European spices, Saffron derives from Arabic za'fran "be yellow". The Hindi and Sanskrit names have been derived from the Northern Indian region Kashmir, where old saffron was produced. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. In production countries the price is much lower, but so is the quality. Saffron's aroma is unique and there is no substitute for it. Saffron is the slender, dried, reddish-brown, flattened stigma of a small crocus of the iris family.

Saffron is cultivated from the Western Mediterranean (Spain) to India (Kashmir). In much smaller scale, saffron is also cultivated in Italy and Greece (Crete). Of the Western and Central Asian cultivation areas, Iran is most productive and together with Spain and Iran produces more than 80% of the world's production. The saffron grown in India- Kashmir has particularly high reputation, but is hardly available outside India.

Saffron is more important in Central Asia and Northern India and is used extensively for rice dishes. Even the North Indian biryanis are relished due to the fragrant and aromatic flavor added by the saffron. Indian sweets like, kheer, ras malai, Indian yogurt drink (lassi), butter lassi (makhaniya lassi) have an everlasting culinary impression due to the saffron added to it. The use of saffron in sweet dishes is famous in the desert regions of Jodhpur in Rajasthan in the Indian sub continent.

Saffron is unique among spices due to its aroma. It is water-soluble and when added to the dish, gives a pure and homogeneous color. In high dosage, saffron exhibits toxic qualities. However, due to its high price, saffron poisoning is very rare.

Often called 'The Golden Spice', saffron has a history rooted in antiquity. It has always held a very special place for its extraordinary medicinal and flavoring properties as well as for being a striking yellow dye. Indian saffron is cultivated on a large scale in the Jammu & Kashmir valley whose cool dry climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic content make the location an ideal thriving ground for this spice. By every standard, Indian saffron is considered superior to its foreign counterparts.

Saffron Flower is a well known flower plant which belongs to the botanical family, Iridaceae. A spice made from the dried stigma of the flower of saffron crocus is considered the world`s most expensive spice. The plant has various uses including culinary and medicinal and is found quite extensively throughout India. The origin of saffron dates back to more than 3,000 years and is mentioned in various historical documents found in the Mediterranean, Asian and European countries. The Chinese historical documents of the 3rd century AD referred saffron to have a Kashmiri provenance.

Origin of Saffron
According to other historical evidences saffron was brought to India by the Persian rulers around 500 BC. The Persian rulers transplanted the Persian saffron crocus corms to the Kashmiri soils, once they conquered Kashmir. According to ancient Chinese historical account an Arhant Indian Buddhist missionary named Madhyantika (or Majjhantika) sowed Kashmir`s first saffron crop when he was sent to Kashmir in the 5th century BC. Saffron cultivation and its uses are believed to spread through the Indian subcontinent from Kashmir. The huge popularity of saffron during that time made it the official colour for Buddhist robes and mantles, immediately after the death of Lord Buddha.

The Phoenicians began cultivation of saffron in India during the 6th century BC and also started marketing the Kashmiri saffron by utilising their extensive trade routes. Saffron is used regularly for anointing Gomateshwara, as part of the Mahamastakabhisheka festival, since 978-993 AD. However, according to the traditional Kashmiri legends, saffron was brought to the region by two Sufi ascetics, Khwaja Masood Wali and Hazrat Sheikh Shariffudin, during the 11th and 12th centuries AD. A golden-domed shrine and tomb dedicated to those Sufis can be found in the saffron-trading village of Pampore, India, till today. However, famous Kashmir poet and scholar Mohammed Yusuf Teng differed with this history of saffron and stated that the plant had been cultivated in Kashmir for more than two millennia. The Kashmiri Tantric Hindu epics of that time mention about saffron cultivation as well.

Saffron Nature of Saffron
Saffron is a small bulbous perennial plant with the botanical name of Crocus sativus Linn. The low growing plant grows 15 to 25 cm high and has an underground globular corm. It is mainly cultivated for its large, scented, blue or lavender flowers. The flowers of saffron plant have divided, orange coloured stigmas, which along with the style-tops yield the saffron of commerce. The flowering period of saffron starts during middle or late October and lasts only until the first or second week of November. However, the number of saffron flowers and the time of blooming in any year are dependent upon the temperature prevalent in spring and autumn and upon the amount of rainfall.

Saffron is known by different names in various Indian languages. In Sanskrit, the plant is named as Keshara, Kunkuma, Aruna, Asra and Asrika. The Hindi and Punjabi names of the plant are Zaffran and Kesar and it is called as Zaffran in Bengali. The Gujarati speaking people know the plant as Keshar, while in Kannada it is called as Kunkuma Kesari. In Kashmiri, saffron is known as Kong and the Marathi speaking people call it as Kesar and Kesara. While it is called as Kungumapu in Tamil, the Telugu name of saffron is Kunkumapuva. In Urdu it is popular as Zaffran and Jafranekar.

The state of Jammu & Kashmir is the place where saffron is predominately cultivated in India. In fact, Kashmir is considered one of the three prominent cultivating places of saffron all over the world. The state of Himachal Pradesh is also counted among the premium cultivating places of saffron in India. The ideal environment for cultivation of saffron is cool dry climate and rich soil with excellent drainage and organic content. India is one of the premium producers and exporters of top-grade `coupe` saffron around the world. Saffron is also used quite extensively for self-consumption in different parts of India. There are three grades of saffron available in Indian market and they are known as Shahi Saffron, Mogra saffron, and Lachha Saffron.

Uses Of Saffron

  1. Saffron is used in baked goods, cheeses, confectionaries, curries, liquors, meat dishes, and soups.
  2. Can be used to treat respiratory infections and disorders such as cough and colds and asthma.
  3. Can be use for blood disorders,insomnia,paralysis,heart diseases,stomach upsets,chronic uterine haemorrhage,eye disorders.
  4. Saffron extract also delays ascites tumour growth, delays papilloma carcinogenesis, inhibits squamous cell carcinoma, and decreases soft tissue sarcoma incidence in treated mice
  5. Besides wound-healing and anticancer properties, saffron is also an antioxidant. This means that, as an "anti-aging" agent, it neutralises free radicals.

How to Use Saffron

  1. For every teaspoon of not crushed Saffron thread used, add three teaspoons of water, making sure that the threads are thoroughly soaked. Add the mixture to approximately 40 ml of warm water in a bowl or tumbler and leave for a long time. The more time you leave it, the better result you get. Add the contents to your recipe.
  2. As an express method. Simply add 5 teaspoons of water for every teaspoon of Saffron thread. Soak the threads and mesh the threads by using the back of a spoon. Add the paste to your recipe.
  3. Saffron threads can be milled to obtain a fine powder (by small grinders or in a mortar). This way we speed up and ease the process of coloring and flavoring of saffron.

Saffron Types

ISO: Category I, Category I, Category III and Category IV
Iran: Sargol (1 Kg saffron/ 105 kg flowers), Pushal (1 kg saffron/101 kg flowers), Negin and Daste (Bunch 1 Kg saffron /78 kg flowers)
Greek: Coupe
Kashmir, India: Mongra (Coupe 220~240 coloring power), Lacha
Spain: Mancha, Sierra, and Rio

Chemical Parameters of Saffron [to judge saffron qualities]:

Characteristic

Requirement

Saffron in filaments 

Saffron in Powder form 

Moisture and volatile matter, % (m/m), max

12

10

Total ash, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

8

8

Acid-insoluble ash, % (m/m), 
on dry basis, max.
Categories I and II
Categories III and IV




1.0
1.5




1.0
1.5

Solubility in cold water, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.

65

65

Bitterness, expressed as direct reading of  the absorbance of picrocrocine at about 257 nm, on dry basis, min.

Category  I 
Category  II
Category  III
Category  IV 






70
55
40
30





70
55
40
30

Safranal, expressed as direct reading 
of the absorbance at about 330 nm, on dry categories.
min.
max. 






20
50






20
50

Colouring strength, expressed as direct reading 
of the absorbance of crocine at about 440 nm,
on dry basis, min.
Category  I
Category  II
Category  III
Category  IV






190
150
110
80






190
150
110
80

Total nitrogen, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.1)

3.0

3.0

Crube fibre, % (m/m), on dry basis, max.1)

6

6