Kinds of Iranian saffron and its tips : The saffron plant (Crocus stativus) does not grow everywhere. Iranian saffron has the best quality in the world, because the Iranian climate is its natural location. Currently, the best saffron in the world is cultivated and harvested in Ghaenat, Gonabad and Torbat Heydariyeh.
Harvesting from farms
Iranian red gold saffron is a land that can grow in most parts of Iran. Planting of saffron plant starts in June and continues until mid-October. This plant grows in areas with hot summers and mild winters. Planting this purple plant should be done before the onset of autumn rains. The growth cycle of saffron starts from the beginning of October through irrigation and continues until May. Saffron flowers once a year, lasting an average of twenty to thirty days. The time of saffron harvest is determined according to the time of irrigation, but usually November is the time of saffron flowering and its petals should be cut daily during the flowering period of the plant. The saffron plant goes into hibernation in May and during the dormant period, irrigation should never be done because its growth cycle stops.
Up to now, there is no mechanical method to properly remove saffron flowers, and each saffron flower must be gently removed by hand.
Stigma separation and tests
In general, saffron flower consists of three parts: 3 yellow flag flowers, saffron stigma and petals. Separation of stigma is very important because the stigma is the most valuable part of the saffron plant. The shorter the interval between the harvesting of the saffron plant and its separation and drying, the higher the quality of the saffron.
Saffron packaging is one of the most important steps in the red gold trade. Saffron plant is sensitive to light and moisture and both have a great impact on its quality.
Solutions for maintaining the quality of saffron:
According to the important points in domestic and international standards of saffron quality in different stages of saffron preparation, different points should be observed, including:
• Timely harvesting of saffron
Harvest time of saffron is very important in extracting quality saffron. If there is a lot of saffron flowers, its color will change or it will be pulled to the stem and its quality will decrease and it is better to harvest it before sunrise.
• Timely drying of saffron
Prolonged drying time of saffron greatly reduces its quality. Therefore, drying saffron should be done in the shortest possible time and away from moisture. It is very important to pay attention to these points in the export of first-class saffron.
If the saffron is not completely dried, it does not have a normal weight and may cause accumulation of contamination due to its moisture. It is very important to follow the hygienic points when separating the flower from the flag itself.
External substances such as dust may enter saffron collected from outside the flower stigma and from the environment. These cases reduce the quality of saffron.
The types of saffron available in the market are divided according to how they are processed, or in other words, how they are cleaned and dried. (In fact, saffron is one type and depending on the form of cleaning saffron (separating the stigma from the saffron root), different types of saffron are created).
Classification of saffron types
Types of saffron include Negin, All-Red (Sargol in Persian), Pushal, Bunch (Dastehi in Persian), Style (Konj in Persian) and Soft Saffron. which we will describe in the following.
1) Negin saffron
Negin saffron has only the red parts of the saffron stigma and no yellow or white is observed in it. Of course, Negin saffron itself is divided into several quality grades.
The most expensive saffron in Iran is Negin saffron, and for saffron export, Negin Atoi or (Ironed Negin Saffron) saffron is generally used. This model of saffron has a wonderful color and appearance and is very fragrant, which of course is also called Negini saffron.
In this type of saffron, the stigmas are without cream and are smooth and without fractures (unlike Sargol saffron, where the stigmas are broken). This has caused this type of saffron to have a better appearance and a higher price than Sargol saffron. The larger the stigma and stem of saffron and the less broken the stigmas, the higher the value.
If we compare Negin saffron cream with ordinary Pushal saffron cream, we will know that they have a high similarity to each other, but in terms of thickness, ordinary Pushal saffron is more delicate than Negin saffron. Negin saffron is very bulky in terms of physical appearance and has a very beautiful appearance.
Negin saffron, unlike bunch saffron, has no friction, because it is flattened by the press in the production process. For this reason, the production process of this saffron is expensive and time consuming and has a high price.
Features of Negin saffron:
• The ends of the stigmas are not white.
• There is no frustration in it.
• It has a beautiful color and a beautiful shape.
• The three branches of the stigma in Negini saffron are completely separate.
• In Negini saffron, the pieces that are stuck together are not seen.
• The coloring power of this saffron is 230 to 270 units.
Negin saffron is divided into different types based on its processing method:
Super Negin saffron
Super Negin saffron is one of the best and most grade saffron on the market and is a kind of saffron certificate in the world. This type of saffron has a higher quality and price than other types of saffron, it also has a beautiful appearance, so it is a very suitable option for export to countries such as China, India, Japan and Asian countries in general.
Saffron is moist as long as it is in the saffron flower, and this saffron is not a saffron that can be used. For this reason, these saffron need to be dried after being separated from the saffron flower. There are several ways to dry saffron, manually and by machine. If the saffron is dried by hand, since this process is done completely by hand, it is very likely that the saffron branch is not completely smooth and various depressions are seen in it (while the smoothness of saffron is one of the important export criteria for Some countries are like China). For this reason, they try to use machines to dry saffron. Saffron that is dried with the machine is considered as smooth and more beautiful saffron.
Second grade Negin saffron
This type of saffron is known among the types of Negini saffron as saffron whose quality is moderate to high, as a result, this type of Negini saffron is also known as a suitable option for export.
Negin-like saffron is of lower quality compared to other types of Negin saffron, but the positive point is that it has a very good price.
2) All-Red (Sargol in Persian)
All-Red (Sargol in Persian) saffron is the same saffron that is usually prepared in one gram and one weight packages for daily consumption and is prepared from the beginning of the stigma or the saffron head. All-Red saffron has high coloring power and pure aroma and taste.
In All-Red saffron, there is no yellow part of saffron or the same cream and saffron root, and only the stigma part or the same cut string is available in a completely separate and clean form. Also, this type of saffron has more crumbs and breaks compared to other types of saffron.
Features of All-Red saffron:
• Its stigmas (cut strands) are completely separate.
• The stigma is completely red and there is no trace of whiteness in it.
• It has a beautiful color and a beautiful appearance.
• Not intertwined and stuck together.
• All-Red saffron also has different types, but it is not so common.
• It is composed of stigma filaments that are thick.
• The percentage of Crocin and Safranal in saffron is very high.
• The coloring power of All-Red saffron is 210 to 260 units.
Poushal saffron is a saffron that has red stigmas with some cream (between three and five millimeters). Production of this type of saffron is at the beginning of the harvest season. Also, this flower has more survival than other saffron flowers because it has some cream along with its stigmas. Normally, for every 100 kg of saffron flowers, approximately one kg of saffron is harvested.
This type of saffron has a higher coloring power compared to Bunch saffron, because its stigma is more than Bunch saffron.
Some people appreciate and use this type of saffron because the stigma is attached to the cream in saffron Poushal and the possibility of cheating in saffron is reduced and it is easier to determine whether it is genuine or not.
Poushal saffron and its characteristics
• At the end of the stigma is white.
• It is intertwined and corroded.
• Does not have pieces that are stuck together.
• It has strings that are in the form of coils.
• The coloring power of Poushal saffron is 170 to 250.
• It has a beautiful color.
4) Bunch (Dastehi in Persian)
Among the different types of saffron, bunch saffron is the main and most basic type of saffron and its preparation method is that it is put together and after drying all the saffron strands (combination of stigma and cream) Is getting ready. Generally, the creamy part is between 3 to 5 mm, and depending on the quality of the saffron, the stigma part may be longer or shorter than it, but it should be noted that this feature often goes back to the taste of the person who cleans the saffron.
Saffron strings are placed on top of each other in two ways, one-way and two-way. In the one-way method, the stigmas are on one side and the creams are on the other side, while in the two-way method, the stigmas are placed around and the creams are in the middle. Usually, the two-way method is more attractive from the customers’ point of view, because the red part of the saffron strings (stigma) around the product is more beautiful.
The creamy part is about 3 to 5 mm and the stigma depends on the quality of saffron, longer or shorter. Saffron in the classification of the National Standard Organization of Iran is called 4th grade saffron. The coloring power of saffron is between 120 and 150 units.
Also, this type of saffron is better and more economical in terms of price than other saffron grades. Bunch (Dastehi in Persian) saffron is one of the most beautiful types of saffron, which is in great demand among different sections of society.
5) Style (Konj in Persian)
At first glance, you might think that saffron is the root of the saffron that is in the soil, but this is not the case. Saffron stigma, which is the main part of saffron, has a white part at the end, which is called saffron root.
Saffron root has all the properties of the red parts of saffron and does not have the power to stain the stigma alone. This type of saffron has a much lower price than other types of saffron, but it has the properties of saffron completely.
So if your intention in buying saffron is only to use the healing properties of saffron, you can buy saffron root.
Style (Konj in Persian) saffron is not considered as a category of saffron. When cleaning saffron and removing the saffron stigma to prepare Negin saffron, the yellow or white part of the saffron is left, which is called saffron whiteness or corner or mistakenly saffron root.
Most counterfeiters use this type of saffron to cheat on saffron and sell it by staining it with the color of a stigma.
6) SOFT SAFFRON
Soft saffron is usually used as a raw material in the preparation of cosmetics. Saffron is a soft addition of saffron filaments that have been cut, broken or crushed during the production and harvesting stages. This type of saffron is like powder and for this reason it is also called saffron powder.