Buy Persian & Iranian Saffron Online - Zaran Saffron
What you should know when buying Persian Saffron online
Per weight, Saffron is one of the most expensive commodities in the world. When shopping for such an expensive spice, we recommend having as much information as possible before buying saffron online.
The reason saffron is so costly is because there is a lot of labor involved that can't be automated with machinery. Saffron comes from the Crocus Sativus L., which is a small flower that is harvested in the month of November. Each flower produces three small threads and each one must be handpicked. It takes around 75,000 flowers to be handpicked to produce a single pound of saffron.
Today, the majority of saffron is grown in Iran in the town of Khorosan. Roughly 94% of the worlds saffron is grown in Iran. Saffron thrives in areas with full sun exposure and well-dried soil, one of the many reasons Iranian saffron is recognized the be the best saffron in the world. In fact, the earliest evidence of Saffron cultivation was found in Ancient Persia.
What makes Saffron high quality?
Many third party distributors claim that they have the "highest quality saffron in the world" but this is almost always a false advertisement. Luckily for consumers, the quality and potency of Saffron is actually measurable.
The quality of saffron is measured by conducting a lab analysis of the product, when it comes to testing saffron there are three main factors to consider. The three most important factors to look for when testing saffron are: Safranal, Crocin, and Picocrocin.
1. Safranal (Aroma Strength)
Category 1 average >20-50
Iran National average >20-50
Zaran Saffron average 40-50
2. Crocin (Coloring Strength)
Category 1 average >190
Iran National average >230
Zaran Saffron average 260+
3. Picocrocin (Flavor Strength)
Category 1 average >70
Iran National average >85
Zaran Saffron average 110
Classifications of Pure Persian Saffron
What is even more interesting is that there are four main classifications of Pure Persian Saffron, these four classifications are based on the trim of the saffron thread. The four different trims of Persian Saffron are:
1. Sargol: means "Top of the flower" in Farsi. Sargol is a sub-type of Persian saffron that derives from the very tip of the saffron thread. Hence, its name "top of flower." It also has a specific, powerful aroma. Generally speaking, Sargol saffron is considered to be high quality due to its lack of Yellow or Orange threads. Sargol can be easily recognized thanks to its full and deep red color and short threads. On the downside, Sargol saffron often contains crumbs and broken threads.
2. Super Negin: The most expensive and rare trim of Saffron. Super Negin saffron is known not only for being the most potent but also for its long uniform colors. Super Negin threads are longer in length and contain no yellow or orange threads. The threads are cut symmetrically and contain no crumbs. When comparing all the trims of Pure Saffron, Super Negin is the most sought after for those who want the best of the best.
3. Negin: When compared to Sargol and Super Negin, Negin is longer in length and contains some yellow and orange portions of the thread. To put it in simple words, the aroma, quality, and purity are still great but you do pay for some portions of the yellow and orange threads, which are lower quality.
4. Poshal: This type of saffron is the cheapest and most commonly sold Saffron trim in stores. Since Saffron is so expensive, many distributors take advantage of consumers by selling them the orange and yellow portions of the thread to increase their profit margins. Since these yellow parts of the stigma contain no value, consumers end up paying much more in reality for an inferior product.
( Learn how to test the quality of your saffron here )
All in all, pure Persian saffron will almost always be high quality as long as its purchased through a reputable and trusted source online. Iran will continue to hold a reputation of High Quality Saffron due to its highly suitable features, such as: Climate, Topography, Soil, and Organic Harvesting methods.
Choosing any type of Iranian saffron or Persian saffron is a smart choice. Since Iran is the source of saffron, its best to buy it directly from a trusted source online to get the best value.