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Saffron qualities by region.
Saffron is grown commercially primarily in India, Spain and Iran. Though it is also grown in a few other European Nations, the production there is negligible. Of these the Spanish variety always has a portion of yellow (style) attached to the red thread (the stigma).
In Iran the stigma is very thin and small in size and the saffron is of two basic varieties. One contains only the stigma (red) part without the yellow style and the other is a bunch wherein the full style is attached to the stigma and tied in a bunch of several hundred stigmas with their styles. The effective yield of Saffron in this quality is only about 50% of red stigmas.
Kashmiri & Iranian Saffron - a comparison.
The main difference between Kashmiri and Iranian Saffron is that of the yield of Stigmas which is about 75%.The excess yield is due to the fact that the stigmas of saffron cultivated in Kashmir are extremely long and with a thick head. They are also of a deep red colour. The size of the stigmas indicate the inherent suitability of the soil and climate for this product.
Thus by just physically observing the saffron its origin can be identified provided it has not been blended with saffron from various origins. The blending is normally done by importers in non producing countries because of the wide disparities in prices : the Iranian Saffron is about 1/2 the price of Kashmiri Saffron.
Saffron as a Herb.
Saffron being a natural herb, all its benefits and contents cannot be fully quantified chemically and as everybody knows that statistics can be made to prove anything. There are many contents in a herb which even scientists agree that at times cannot be identified let alone quantified and even if so, there are many inexplicable benefits that are proved by a variety of testaments and age old experiences which can not be explained by science.
Saffron is a prime example of one such Herb. Therefore, it is important for every supplier to state the origin or source of his saffron, for you to judge its quality because the growing area, its soil and climate creates the basic characteristics and strength of the saffron.
Also wherever Saffron is grown in the world, its production is in the hands of small individual farmers and not in the hands of co-operatives or large corporations and traditional methods of quality control are the only form of checking the quality and originality of the Saffron. Chemical analysis at time of each purchase is hardly practical. We must remember that saffron is an herb and not a chemical concentrate.
Though used by many as a mere spice the benefits that it has in healing a variety of diseases which is well documented in the Bhavprakash Nikhantu, the Ayurvedic Bible which is as old as the Indian culture and still as practical and useful to daily life as the Kama Sutra.
The Saffron that we pick for you is Kashmiri Saffron which is the World's best Saffron known for its' exotic aroma and flavor in culinary preparations around the globe. Kashmiri Saffron has an extremely dark maroonish-purple hue, among the World's darkest, which suggests the Saffron's strong flavor, aroma and coloring power.