What is Saffron ??
Saffron is basically considered as a spice which is derived from a flower whose scientific name is Crocus Sativus. It is a delicate purple coloured flower whose stigmas are dried to extract the spice. It is cultivated once in a year.
Other name of Saffron is Autumn Crocus, Azafrán, Croci Stigma, Crocus Cultivé, Indian Saffron, Kashmira, Kesar, Kumkuma, Saffron Crocus, Safran, Safran Cultivé, Safran Espagnol, Safran des Indes, Safran Véritable, Spanish Saffron, True Saffron, Zafran.
The crimson coloured spice is very valuable and is also known as “Red Gold”. One of the main reason of saying it gold is its high price. You will agree to it if you came to know that it is sold at an average rate of Rs.355 per gram. Its highest quality is sold at Rs.4680 making it expensive than gold.
Saffron is also famous for its medicinal properties. It is also a colouring agent used in foods.
2. Origin of Saffron
The origin of Saffron has been always in doubt. Some says it was originated in Kashmir while some says it was originated in Central Asia. If we talk about widely consideration, Iran is considered as the main origin country of Saffron. Other suggested origin countries are Greece and Mesopotamia.
3. Types of Saffron
There are several types of saffron namely Kashmir Saffron, Iranian Saffron, Spanish Saffron, Greek Saffron, and Italian Saffron. These types of saffron have further classifications: -
Kashmir Saffron: - “Mongra” and “Lacha” are the two popular types of Kashmiri Saffron. These are very rare due to several climatic conditions with India export ban.
Iranian Saffron: - Sargol” (All-Red saffron), “Poushal” and “Dasteh” are three major types of the Iranian Saffron. These all are qualified on the basis of stigma and style of the flower.
Spanish Saffron: - “Spanish Superior” and “Creme” are the two major types of Spanish saffron. Spanish saffron is very less popular due to its low quality. It contains higher floral waste and more yellow parts making it less effective and less costly.
Greek Saffron: - “Red Saffron” is the only type of saffron available in Greece. It is popular due to its high quality color and strong flavour.
Italian Saffron: - “Aquilla” saffron is one of the most popular and only saffron produced widely in Italy. Major reason of its popularity is high crocin content with pervasive aroma and intensive color.
4. Kashmiri saffron is superior and how ?
Kashmiri Saffron is superior due to several reasons: -
It is the darkest saffron in the world due to its strong flavour, aroma and colouring effect.
Its availability is very much less in the world; making it very expensive.
It have the best climatic conditions in the world; with Iran to grow saffron.
Its strands are thick in size in comparison with other countries spice.
No country can compare with the fragrance of Kashmiri saffron.
These are one of the strong reasons to believe that Kashmiri saffron is superior to all. It only consists 1/10th of world’s total production as compared to Iran who is the largest producer of the spice (around 90%).
5. Types of Kashmiri saffron
There are two types of saffron basically grown in Kashmir; “Mongra” and “Lacha”. If we talk about the characteristics of each type, then Mongra saffron is made from the broken stigmas of the flower. It is dark red in color and considered as one of the best saffron in the world. It is always huge in demand due to less floral waste and high aromatic nature and flavouring qualities. It holds a great place in Indian kitchens in both forms; i.e. powder and petal form,
Lacha saffron consists of long and flat dark red threads with some yellow part as its tail of the stigma of Mongra. It also contains floral waste. We can consider it as the discarded or unselected quality of saffron which is a flavouring and coloring agent in many food dishes.
6. Kashmiri Mongra saffron is superior and how ?
Mongra saffron is undoubtedly the best saffron of India and one of the best, demanding in the world. The reasons of its superiority are: -
It is dark red in color making it highly aromatic in nature.
It has less floral waste.
It has high flavouring capabilities.
It has powerful coloring quality.
It is made from the broken stigmas of the fl