Saffron otherwise known as “red gold” is the world’s most expensive spice. Saffron is the spice derived from the pistils of the flower named “Crocus Sativus”. The stigmas are collected and dried to be used as a premium seasoning in cooking. It is the harvest method for saffron that plays an important role, behind its high value. It is one of the oldest herbs used for medicinal purposes and is still being used as a medicine by many regions of the world. Saffron is also used in many other industries such as tobacco industry, dairy industry, cosmetic industry and dye industry.
Three types of Saffron
There are three main types of saffron
- Kashmiri saffron from India
- Persian or Iranian saffron from Iran
- Spanish saffron from Spain
Standards help detect fraud
Saffron, being an object of desire, it is also more prone to be a victim of fraud. Low-quality and fake saffron threads are often traded on international markets and the standards for pure saffron are not always followed. Its high value has made saffron the product of frequent adulteration.
Nevertheless, there are a number of standards which can help prevent the fraud and help determine quality saffron brands. Saffron is considered pure when it meets its standard and when there is no external material added to the natural saffron.
Saffron grading is governed by ISO 3632 which classifies saffron into 4 grades based on various elements. The more yellow color in saffron means that the saffron has been harvested cheaply and it is not of high quality. The major elements for classification are based on color, aroma and flavor of the saffron. Grade IV saffron means lowest quality saffron whereas Grade I, II and III saffron refers to the purest and finest quality saffron. Different countries have different grades of saffron at different prices.
Fraud takes place more in the powdered saffron. Less expensive spices are added to increase the volume of the saffron powder.
Spice lovers frequently ask what is the best place to shop for saffron. In this ever expanding world, it might be easy to turn to the web for easy access to get saffron online. But what is the guarantee that you will receive the pure saffron?
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