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Finest Kashmiri Saffron

What is saffron?

Saffron is actually the dried stigmas of the flower Crocus Sativus Linnaeus, which belongs to the Iradaceae family.

The word “saffron” is derived from the Arabic word za’faran, which translates to “yellow.”

The saffron crocus is a small bulbous perennial – 6-to 10-inches high , that produces up to five violet-colored flowers from each bulb. Each flower holds three, dark-orange-red, funnel-shaped, 1-inches stigmas with lacy, pale tips. These stigmas are removed, or stripped, and when dried, they are the saffron prized by chefs all over the world.

These stigmas have to be hand picked from each flower and more then 75000 flowers are needed to produce just one pound of saffron filament.

Chemical composition

The saffron stigma, which is what basically forms commercial saffron has a distinct, unique color, flavor and aroma and some of the groups of chemical compounds responsible for each of these properties have now been identified as:

  • Color

Saffron’s coloring power is mainly produced by crocin (chemical comp. C44H64024) Which is one of the few naturally occurring carotenoids easily soluble in water.

This water solubility is one of the reasons for its widely preferred application in food and medicine.

Chemical composition of crocin: In addition to crocin saffron contains aglicon Crocetin as a free agent and small amounts of the pigment anthocianin. There are also Oil soluble pigments including alphacarotene, betacarotene and zegxantin. One of the most Important parameters in evaluating the quality of saffron is its coloring power, which is determined by measuring by spectrophotometer the amount of coloring factors present at 443 nanometers.

  • Flavor

The principal element giving saffron its special ”bitter” flavor is the glycosid picrocrocin (c16 H26 07). This bitter tasting substance can be crystalized and produces Glucose and the aldehyde safranal by hydrolysis.

Chemical composition of safranal: safranal is a volatile liquid oil which produces a yellow spot in water vapor and is readily soluble in ethanol, methanol and petroleum ether.

  • Aroma

Pure Saffron has a strong aroma, which is produced by certain special volatile oils & essences. The main aroma factor in saffron is safranal, which comprises about 60% of the volatile components of saffron. In fresh saffron this substance exists as stable picrocrocin but as a result of heat and passage of time it decomposes releasing the volatile aldehyde saffranal.

Chemical composition of safranal: safranal is a volatile liquid oil which produces a yellow spot in water vapor and is readily soluble in ethanol, methanol and petroleum ether.