Saffron

A touch of Orient

Saffron on wood

The small saffron threads appear very delicate, almost fragile. Just looking at them, you would never guess the intensity of the aroma of this oriental treasure. With just a few threads, you can gild your dishes with saffron. Especially in the oriental cuisine saffron is used for seasoning, colouring and refining. In the world of professional chefs, saffron has now become indispensable in European cuisine as well. On this page you can learn more about the history, origin and the difference between the different varieties. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The story

Saffron (Arabic/Persian: “the yellow”) is one of the most valued plants in the world today and was already cultivated by the ancient Persians. The spice saffron is extracted from the flowers of the crocus species “Crocus sativus” – which belongs to the iris family “Iridaceae”. The crocus blossoms can only be harvested in autumn each year – and only during a flowering period of about two weeks. The only thing that matters here are the three stigmas that can be found in each blossom. Only these pistil threads are used dried as saffron spice.
Um – in pure handcraft! – about one kilogram of saffron, you need about 150,000 flowers. Each picker can harvest a maximum of between 60 and 80 grams of saffron per day. For these reasons, too, saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world.

This plant species is a triploid mutant of Crocus cartwrightianus, which is native to the Aegean islands. Because of its triple set of chromosomes, it is infertile and can only be propagated vegetatively by tuber division.

Origin and cultivation

Saffron is cultivated in many countries of the world. Apart from Spain, Morocco, India and Pakistan, this is mainly Iran, where 85% of the world’s saffron harvest is harvested.

The mild climate in Iran – especially in the southern Khorasan – is ideal for growing saffron. This is why the highest quality saffron comes from this region, which is imported directly to Europe by Fine Food Royal as Saffron Sargol and the exclusive Saffron Negin.

Quality criteria

Even if quality as well as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, four parameters can be determined by which saffron can be classified worldwide. These are determined and certified by laboratories.

The parameters are

Crosine (colouring power)
Picrocrosing (bitterness & taste)
Saffron (aroma & fragrance)

In addition to these parameters, other indicators such as non-organic components (e.g. saffron ash) are also assessed.

According to ISO Standard 3632, saffron is classified in four levels, which are based on the dyeing power on the basis of the crosine value. Iranian saffron – with the greatest dyeing power – is classified in level 1 and thus corresponds to the highest quality classification.

Crosine (dyeing strength) Classification according to ISO 3632
>190 Level 1
150-190 Level 2
110-150 Level 3
80-110 Level 4

NameCrosinwert (Färbekraft)Picocrosinwert (Bitterkeit)Safranalwert (Aroma)Qualitätseinstufung (ISO 3632)
Negin250usp1
Sargol250usp1
Poushal170-250usp1-3
Dasteh80-110usp4

saffron in the kitchen

Saffron adds an incomparable bitter-tart flavour to any dish, when dosed correctly. The crocin contained in saffron colours the food in the typical saffron yellow (“saffron makes the cake gel”)

Saffron became famous especially through the oriental cuisine. Here it is used in every household – for seasoning, colouring or refining. In the meantime, this noble spice has also found its way into Mediterranean cuisine and has also become indispensable for European star restaurants.

The incomparable harmony of taste created by adding a few threads of the Orient has become indispensable in risottos, fish dishes and seafood. In order to preserve the aromatic fragrance and the taste experience, it is recommended to soak the saffron threads in a little warm water for a few minutes and to add the liquid only towards the end of the cooking time of the dish.

What other saffron varieties are available

white saffron

White saffron (Persian: “Konj”) consists of the remains of the saffron threads after the Sargol saffron has been selected. Its stamping threads therefore only have yellow and white components. It is mostly used for decorative purposes.

    • 5 mm Punch length

 

  • quality level 4

 

Dastehsafran

Dastehsafran consists of a bundle of stamped threads. It is the simplest form of saffron and therefore the cheapest.
The threads are about 5 mm long and consist of its red, yellow and white components. There are two different processing steps.

The one-way processing or the two-way processing.
With the one-way processing the same colour components are always placed on top of each other. This results in a bundle of saffron that is red on one side and white on the other.

The preferred two-way processing is characterized by the fact that the stamping threads are aligned in opposite directions and folded together in a slightly offset manner. This results in a bundle that shows red on each side.
It belongs to quality standard 4.

    • 3-5 mm punch length

 

  • quality level 4

 

pousneck saffron

Poushal saffron consists mainly of the red (1-3mm) and yellow components of the stamping threads. The white components have been removed accordingly. It is therefore of higher quality and more expensive than Dasteh Saffron.

  • dyeing power (170-230 usp)
  • quality level 3

Saffron varieties

Saffron Sargol

Our most popular saffron
8 per gram
  • very upscale
  • high dyeing power (250usp)
  • Very good price-performance ratio
Bestseller

Saffran Negin

Top saffron in the range
10 per gram
  • premium saffron
  • high dyeing power (250usp)
  • long red stamped threads
Top Saffron

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