Saffron is the most treasured spice globally extensively cultivated in Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, the USA, India, and the Mediterranean region.
For obtaining the highest quality of Saffron, it is harvested by hand and in the early mornings to protect the Saffron strands.
Since it involves a complicated harvesting process and only three stigmas are obtained from a single flower, there is a lot of fraudulent and low-quality Saffron sold in the market.
Saffron is packed with rich chemical compounds and has anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic properties that help various health conditions. Consuming Saffron helps ease hypertension, reverse type-2 diabetes, and aid in relieving different metabolic disorders.
Apart from that, Saffron is an irreplaceable spice used in dishes as it is hard to find a substitute for the rich flavour and subtle earthy aroma this spice offers.
What makes Saffron so expensive?
Saffron is the most magical spice and a complicated herb to harvest. Saffron is the dried stigma obtained from the Crocus Sativus flower, and each flower has around three saffron strands. Collecting Saffron is hard and time-taking, as the stigmas are hand-picked and separated from the flower. So obtaining Saffron strands is a laborious task, and using any other methods for picking the strands would damage the other parts of the plant.
In short, it is a low-yielding spice, and a lot of manual work goes into harvesting and cultivating this spice. For instance, only 3-4 pounds of Saffron is obtained from an acre of land, which is very low.
The grassy flavour and sweet aroma of Saffron make it an essential spice in many dishes. Saffron has some rich chemical compounds such as picrocrocin, crocin, and safranal. These compounds give Saffron its rich flavour, vibrant color, and earthy fragrance. The taste, smell, and color are the three main factors based on which the quality of Saffron is determined. Such rich chemical composition, complex method of harvesting and unique flavour make Saffron the most expensive herb. Saffron is undoubtedly inherently the most valuable spice in the world.
How is Saffron harvested?
Three Saffron stigmas are borne inside the cup-shaped bloom at the center. The best time for harvesting the stigma is when the flowers are fresh and fully opened mid-morning on any sunny day. Then, all the stigmas are plucked from these flowers manually and stored in a dry place. Around 15,000-16,000 flowers are produced to get 1kg of Saffron. With human intervention, the production time is about 380-490 hours. That’s what makes Saffron the most expensive herb in the world.
How to find the real Saffron?
Since obtaining Saffron is such a hard and time-consuming task, and it takes over 1,70,000 Saffron crocus flowers to get one kilo of Saffron, the market is packed with replicas of Saffron that closely resembles the original Saffron.
One has to have some expertise to be able to distinguish between real Saffron and fake Saffron. For instance, Saffron may smell sweet, but it has a slightly bittersweet flavour and an amazing aroma.
Amongst all the factors, to make sure that you buy real Saffron make sure it is Grade A+ certified. Buy Saffron that is Grade A+ certified and is ISO3632 standard. This standard confirms the purity of the Saffron and helps assure that it does not have any additives. ISO3632 standard testing techniques evaluate Saffron in its different sizes and types and is the only evidence you need for the quality of Saffron.
Out of all Saffron types, Kashmiri Saffron is the most widely used and potent type of Saffron. Get your Saffron from a reliable brand that supplies real and highest-quality Saffron.