Different kind of saffron

The history of saffron Research and documentation show that the foothills of the Zagros Mountains in Iran are the native lands of saffron. The oldest records about the usage of saffron come from the period referred to as the Achaemenid era where all of the food products that were used in the palace kitchen in that time are inscribed on a pillar. According to these inscriptions, one kilogram of saffron was used each day in the palace kitchen.

The botany and composition of saffron The scientific name for saffron is crocus sativus. It is both a bulbous and herbal plant. The lifespan of the saffron plant is 7 to 10 years. The brown bulb of the saffron plant belongs to the corm family. Each bulb grows into 6 to 9 thin, herbal leaves. In the autumn, one or two pink or purple colored flowers bloom from each corm. The pistil of the saffron flower is in the center and contains the ovary and the thin, yellow style growing inside. Saffron flowers have bright, red stigmas that are 20 to 30 mm in length. The stigma is the edible and commercial part of saffron. The stigma has many chemical components, such as: carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, pigment (especially crocin), essence (especially safranal) and flavorings (especially picrocin).

The Uses of Saffron Saffron is used as a spice in many culinary products: Food products such as margarine, sausages, cake powder, and many desserts. Dairy products such as butter and cheese. Saffron is also used in other products such as sweets, candy, ice cream, jelly, beverages, wine, chicken, rice, seafood, soup, bread, and cake.

The primary users of saffron Arabs use saffron for preparing a kind of tea named after it and Arabic coffee. Indians use saffron for the preparation of a dish called Biryani. Italians and the Swiss use saffron for the preparation of a dish with rice called Risotto. Spaniards use saffron for the preparation of a dish called Paella. Germans and the English use saffron for the preparation of saffron cake.

Other applications for saffron Due to its other properties, Saffron can also be used for medical purposes such as: • Helps with digestion; strengthens the stomach and is anti-tympanites. • Rouses sexual desire • Is analgesic, especially for colicky pains and combats gingivitis • Helps to fight tumors and collections of free radicals (thus reacting against cancerous cells).

Global trade in saffron The statistics of Iranian saffron exports, according to the Customs Organization of Iran, are shown below (values are in millions of dollars):


Note: Statistics are from March of each year.

According to FAO statistics (2004), Iran is the number one exporter of saffron in recent years and Iranian saffron is exported to many countries.

This graph, based on FAO statistics, shows the percentage of Iranian saffron exports in the global market.



Saffron Articles

Saffron Tea

Saffron Tea Tea sometimes referred to as an infusion or “steeping” saffron. This is exactly the same principle you use in making any tea – the longer the saffron steeps, the stronger its flavor, aroma and color. Where saffron preparation … Readmore

Cake – Saffron

Cake – Saffron Cornish saffron cake is made to celebrate Easter. Saffron corms were traded in exchange for tin, with seafaring Phoenicians. The saffron was bought and sold in Drachmas. Russians also make a saffron cake at Easter called Kulich. … Readmore

Medicinal use

Medicinal use Saffron’s traditional folkloric uses as an herbal medicine are legendary. It has been used for its carminative and emmenagogic properties, for example. Iranian used saffron to treat respiratory infections and disorders such as coughs and common colds,smallpox, cancer, … Readmore

Kashmiri & Iranian saffron – a comparison

Kashmiri & Iranian saffron – a comparison The main difference between Kashmiri and Iranian Saffron is that of the yield of Stigmas which is about 75%.The excess yield is due to the fact that the stigmas of saffron cultivated in … Readmore

Chemical composition of saffron

Chemical composition of saffron The main chemical components of saffron are responsible for its taste, aroma and its color. Simplified croc in produces color, picrocrocin produces flavor and adrenal produces aroma. Color The color of the saffron is a strong … Readmore


Saffron Saffron spice is the three red stigma of the purple Crocus sativa flower. It is an extremely aromatic spice and although it is red, it is not at all hot. It has a complex flavor and aroma and is … Readmore