What is Grade A Saffron? What is the nutritional value of saffron? What is history of saffron? What is another name for saffron?
What is saffron: Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world with wonderful properties and it is one of the spice and medicinal plants in the world. It is cultivated in Iran, Egypt, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, Pakistan and the Maghreb.
It is a perennial plant that grows up to 30 cm in height. This plant has purple flowers with six petals.
Saffron flower has three flags and a female leading to the stigma of three red branches. It has a fragrant smell. It is highly valued as red gold and is the main income of the people in the cities of Khorasan state in Iran.
What is saffron: It is a plant that has onions. This onion has brown shells. This plant grows in western Asia, southern Spain and southern Europe. Propagation of saffron exclusively is common by the underground gland of coriander (corm) or the same onion.
It has a stem and six purple petals and usually 3 strands (there are more than three strands sometimes) of red stigma which is called saffron root. The part used by the saffron plant is its orange flower stigma. Stigma of Zarparan contains fat, minerals and mucilage.
Crocus sativus, commonly known as saffron, is one of the most expensive spices in the world, and has been used by humans for centuries. Egyptian healers used it to treat digestion disease. Also in ancient Roman times, this plant was used to heal wounds and relieve respiratory problems.
Today, it is used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent. Meantime, its effect in the treatment of defects is reviewed. Other uses for saffron in traditional medicine include abortion, spasm treatment, insomnia, fever, cold, bronchitis and Ayurvedic. This plant is used as a laxative and expectorant (expectorant), sedative, anti-saffron in traditional medicine, exacerbation of menstrual bleeding or anything to speed up asthma, adaptogens or menstrual. It was used during the 16th to 19th centuries to prepare various medicinal compounds to relieve pain. This extraordinary spice is native to southern Europe and today it`s cultivated in many countries, mainly Italy, France, Spain, Iran, Greece, Turkey, and Kashmir and Jammu states of India. Dried stigmas is very important in the production of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and dyeing industry of fabrics and textiles as well as cooking.
Although the plant is difficult to grow in Sweden, authors at Swedish festivals stated that the amazing spice has long been added to St. Lucia’s special breads. Many cultures have accepted the use of Zarparan as a medicinal or food substance, although most people could not buy it because of its high price.
The ancient Greeks described the wealth of their gods by describing a throne of saffron to Zeus.
Another name for saffron
What is another name for saffron? Its name is Crocus Sativus, although in ancient times it was called Zarpran, which after the attack of the Arabs and the introduction of Arabic words into Persian, it gradually turned into saffron. Zarpran is the raw materials of one of the most expensive spices in the world and has been used by humans for years. Egyptian healers used it to treat gastrointestinal diseases. Also in ancient Roman times, this plant was used to heal wounds and respiratory tract problems.
In ancient times it was called “Blood of Hercules” and was used as a protective spell. Saffron cake was cooked by the Phoenicians in honor of the goddess of fertility and the moon. In ancient times, it was called Zarparan. In the Mediterranean region, this spice was associated with strength, fertility, psychic allergies and sexual potency. Adding Zarpran to love juice was a popular ritual for them.
In the Old Testament, in the lyric section of Suleiman, along with Mor Hejazi, Aloe, Calamus and cinnamon, saffron was mentioned as one of the most valuable and best spices. This plant was picked only by women who had a high social position like the nuns, whose clothes were dyed by saffron.
The Romans wanted this plant because it was considered as the herb for strengthening sexual instinct and they sprayed it on their bed on the night of their wedding. This plant has been used for washing body, which relaxed it. It is used to dye and flavor traditional foods.
It has various compounds that made this wonderful and valuable plant more famous than before. Today the amount of these compounds can be measured through experiments in laboratories, and in fact their quality can be assessed that the higher the percentage of these compounds, the higher the quality of this valuable spice.
- Safranal is the cause of fragrance in this plant
- Picrocin causes a wonderful taste of saffron
- Crocin is a color agent in Zarpran and is also a factor in preventing cancer
The aroma of saffron is due to the presence of colorless tropane essential oil and an oxygenated compound with cineole called Safranal. The taste of saffron is related to the bitter hydroside of picrocrocin. The red color of this plant is related to the presence of a substance called crocin.
What is the origin of saffron and where is it?
Initially, Iran was the only exporter of red gold in the world, but in recent years, other countries have also begun trading this plant. In the new era, Spain is considered as a competitor for Iran and one of the exporters of saffron. The UAE has become one of the world’s largest exporters of red gold without cultivating any saffron. In addition, many countries such as Afghanistan, India, etc. are active in the field of saffron exports.
Saffron from planting to harvest
The history of saffron cultivation in Iran dates back to ancient times. Then it was taken from Iran to Greece and Rome. In the Parthian period it was exported from Iran to Rome and later in the Mongol period to China, and China became one of the customers of red gold in Iran. It is said that saffron became common in city of Qom during the Sassanid period. It was also taken to Arab countries during the Islamic period and countries around the Mediterranean also became familiar with ways of cultivating it.
If we want to talk about the cultivation of this valuable plant in Iran, the first place that comes to mind is Khorasan. Khorasan province has always been a pioneer in field of saffron cultivation in Iran. Cultivation of this plant in different cities such as Khorasan Razavi province including Zaveh, Torbat Heydariyeh, Torbat Jam, Taybad, Bakhzar, Gonabad, Neishabour, Bajestan. This province ranks the first in cultivation. In the province of South Khorasan, cities of Ghainat, Ferdows, Boshrouyeh and Birjand can be named. South Khorasan province is the second largest producer of Iranian saffron after Khorasan-razavi province. In terms of quality, South Khorasane is the first, but in terms of quantity, it is the second region after Khorasan-razavi. After Khorasan province, we can mention Kerman, Lorestan, Fars, and other provinces, which have recently been active in cultivating red gold.
Out of about 330 tons of products that are produced in the world every year, about 290 tons belong to Khorasan. Of all cities that cultivate saffron in Khorasan-razavi and South Khorasane provinces, Qaen has snatched the lead from other cities in terms of reputation and is known as the capital of Iranian saffron. Khorasan Chamber of Commerce has been mentioned for about 700 years. Currently, Gonabad saffron has a history of saffron cultivation in Qaen in terms of southern quality which ranks first in the world for registering with the FAO. In recent years, many knowledge-based companies in Saffron fields have been active in Khorasan province by participating in different countries and participating in markets.
The exporters are trying to improve the export position of Khorasan saffron in the world.
- About 4500 saffron flowers are needed to gain 28 grams of Zarpran.
- You can grow this plant. This requires good soil and plenty of sunlight.
- Plant the onion of this plant at a depth of 8 to 12 cm and at a distance of 15 cm from each other. And you can receive final product from each flower once a year. 60 flowers of saffron give you about 1 tablespoon of this spice.
- Iran produces about 90% of the world’s saffron.
- Zarpran is used in the preparation of some perfumes.
- This plant is harvested in autumn and this process is done completely by hand. It has not been mechanized yet.
- Alexander the Great used Iranian saffron during his campaigns in Asia to treat wounds during the war.
- Zarpran is even used as an insecticide and pesticide.
- The petals can also be used as a dye for clothing.
Zarpran is a valuable and very useful food which is a very small amount, in fact, from every 100 to 200 thousand plants, about 5 kg of flowers Saffron is obtained with great difficulty. 5 kg of fresh saffron becomes up to about one kilogram after drying.
Types of saffron
In general, red gold can be divided into six categories or types:
- Negin Super
- Dokhtar pich
- Whiteness (root or cream)
- Recognizing the appearance of goldfish and especially its stigma
- Taste of Zarpran (taste is almost bitter)
- Touch it by hand or place the string between the straw paper
- Use of gasoline and gas flame
What are the amazing properties of saffron?
In ancient and modern medicine, this plant was mentioned as a pharmacy due to its many medicinal and therapeutic properties.
- Improving vision
- Strengthening sexual power
- Treatment of depression and castration
- Treatment of fatty liver
- Improving skin condition and rejuvenating it
- Strengthening the immune system
- Cancer treatment
What are the anti-cancer properties of saffron?
It has anti-cancer properties and acts as an anti-tumor drug and free radical scavenger. Based on medical research it has been proven that the antioxidants in saffron have anti-cancer properties. Based on the results of this study it seems that its use prevents the occurrence of carcinogenic gene sequences and has a great effect in repairing damaged DNA molecules.
Consumption of saffron
Consumption of three grams of saffron for every person per month is very healthy and beneficial, and consumption of more than 5 grams per person is harmful in the month. But consuming 5 grams in a meal can lead to death. It also causes side effects such as dizziness, nausea and decreased heart rate.
It gives special aroma and color to food and, therefore it is used in food industries such as sausage making, confectionery such as making cake powders, in pharmacy such as antidepressants, in textiles such as dyeing fabrics, in non-alcoholic production as a natural flavoring, in the dairy industry and more.
Maintenance of saffron
Due to its high price, it is better to know how to store saffron after purchase. It should be kept away from light and moisture. Keep this plant in closed glass or metal containers. Note that its essential oil is volatile, therefore close the lid of the container. If the lid of the container is left open, the medicinal effects and its quality will decrease.