After a short holiday break I’m back with my saffron post. :)) hope y’all are healthy, cheerful and fat ūüôā

Saffron¬†is a¬†spice¬†derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the¬†saffron crocus.¬†Crocus¬†is a genus in the family¬†Iridaceae. Saffron crocus grows to 20‚Äď30¬†cm (8‚Äď12¬†in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson¬†stigmas, which are the distal end of acarpel¬†Together with the¬†styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and coloring agent. Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight, is native to¬†Greece¬†or¬†Southwest Asia.

Saffron’s taste and¬†iodoform- or hay-like fragrance result from the chemicals¬†picrocrocin¬†and¬†safranal.¬†It also contains a¬†carotenoid¬†pigment,¬†crocin, which imparts a rich¬†golden-yellow hue¬†to dishes and textiles.¬†Its recorded history¬†is attested in a 7th-century BC Assyrian botanical treatise compiled under¬†Ashurbanipal.¬†Iran¬†now accounts for approximately 90% of the world production of saffron.

The plant grows to a height of 20‚Äď30¬†cm (8‚Äď12¬†in), and sprouts 5‚Äď11 white and non-photosynthetic¬†leaves known as¬†cataphylls. These membrane-like structures cover and protect the crocus’s 5 to 11 true leaves as they bud and develop. Only in October, after most other flowering plants have released their seeds, do its brilliantly hued flowers develop; they range from a light pastel shade of lilac to a darker and more striated mauve.¬†The flowers possess a sweet, honey-like fragrance.

Saffron is not all of the same quality and strength. Strength is related to several factors including the amount of style picked along with the red stigma. Age of the saffron is also a factor. More style included means the saffron is less strong gram for gram, because the color and flavor are concentrated in the red stigmas. Saffron from¬†Iran,¬†Spain¬†and Kashmir¬†is classified into various grades according to the relative amounts of red stigma and yellow styles it contains. Grades of Iranian saffron are: “sargol” (red stigma tips only, strongest grade), “pushal” or “pushali” (red stigmas plus some yellow style, lower strength), “bunch” saffron (red stigmas plus large amount of yellow style, presented in a tiny bundle like a miniature wheatsheaf) and “konge” (yellow style only, claimed to have aroma but with very little, if any, colouring potential). Grades of Spanish saffron are “coup√©” (the strongest grade, like Iranian sargol), “mancha” (like Iranian pushal), and in order of further decreasing strength “rio”, “standard” and “sierra” saffron. The word “mancha” in the Spanish classification can have two meanings: a general grade of saffron or a very high quality Spanish-grown saffron from a specific geographical origin.



Saffron’s aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange coloring to foods. Saffron is widely used in Indian, Persian, European, Arab, and Turkish cuisines. Confectioneries and liquors also often include saffron. Common saffron substitutes include safflower (Carthamus tinctorius, which is often sold as “Portuguese saffron” or “a√ßafr√£o”), annatto, and turmeric (Curcuma longa). Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India, and in perfumery. It is used for religious purposes in India, and is widely used in cooking in many cuisines, ranging from the Milanese risotto of Italy to the bouillabaisse of France to the biryani with various meat accompaniments in South Asia.

T ūüôā


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