Saffron is a small, bulbous, perennial plant that varies in height from 10 to 30 cm. From the middle of the brown onion of this plant, a number of narrow and long leaves and from the middle of its leaves, a flowering stem comes out, which leads to one to three purple or purple flowers.
The saffron flower has three flags and a female leading to a reddish-orange stigma. The part we want is the end of the cream and the stigma of the three branches, which is known as saffron and is very fragrant and a little bitter.
Place of growth and planting of saffron in Iran; The cities of Khorasan (Ghaenat, Birjand and Gonabad), Yazd, Kerman, Gilan and Mazandaran. Recently, some people in Karaj and Qom have started planting saffron.
In general, saffron is a very valuable food that is obtained from a small amount of saffron flowers. In fact, from every 100 to 200 thousand saffron plants, about 5 kg of saffron flowers are obtained, which weighs 5 kg of fresh saffron after drying to 1 kg. arrives.
History of saffron
Saffron with the scientific name “Crocus Sativus” belongs to the lily family. In some sources, such as the Americana Encyclopedia, the word is derived from Corycus, the name of a region in Cilicia in the eastern Mediterranean. Some people consider the origin of saffron to be Mad Iran. Some scholars also consider the origin of saffron to be a wider region of the globe, which includes Greece, Turkey, Asia Minor and Iran.
While exporting saffron to many parts of the ancient world, the Iranians introduced its properties to the Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Arabs, and learned how to cultivate it in the first to fourth centuries AH in the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean.
Thus, the first saffron farms were established in the Levant by Mu’awiyah, deported by the Iranians. Then saffron cultivation became popular in North Africa and Andalusia (Islamic Spain) and Saqliya (Sicily) and Iranian tribes such as Rostamian and Banu Tabari had a great impact on the transmission of saffron cultivation culture.
Important compounds of saffron
Yellow and water-soluble compounds that are derivatives of crocetin.
Its bitter ingredients are picrocrocin and its aromatic composition is safranal.
It has about ten percent fixed oil, which contains oleanolic acid.
Riboflavin is another compound found in saffron.
Training to brew colorful saffron
To prepare and brew saffron, first rub some of it in a small mortar with some sugar or 1 sugar cube. Then mix 1 teaspoon of it with half a cup of boiling water and put it on steam or boiling rice to brew and color.
More saffron increases the color of saffron, you can prepare this solution more and keep it in a closed jar and in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Permissible amount of saffron consumption
The permissible daily consumption of saffron is about one gram; Also, the consumption of its tincture is about 15 drops per day. Consumption of three grams of saffron per person per month is very healthy and beneficial, but consumption of more than 5 grams per month is harmful. Consumption of 5 grams of saffron in one meal can lead to human death.
The harms of consuming too much saffron
Excessive consumption of saffron is harmful and causes vomiting, decreased heart rate, dizziness, lethargy, jaundice and other dangerous complications that these consequences can even lead to death.
Excessive consumption of saffron also reduces blood pressure and excessive blood thinning, which may have side effects such as nosebleeds or uterine bleeding in women. Excessive use of this substance is not recommended for pregnant women for the reasons mentioned above and may lead to miscarriage in the first months of pregnancy. Click on the link below to know how to have an abortion due to saffron consumption.
Ways to identify counterfeit saffron
Due to the high price of saffron, unfortunately, sometimes there are frauds in its supply. One of the most important frauds of saffron is safflower instead of saffron. This plant, commonly known as American saffron, is available in the market, which is completely different from Iranian saffron in terms of composition and effects, but is similar in appearance. Counterfeit saffron can be well detected using microscopic methods or analysis of essential oils (its aroma).
Recognizing the original saffron from the branch of the saffron stigma is the simplest method, because the branches of the saffron stigma are triangular and the upper part of it is trumpet, and the lower it gets, the narrower it gets, and it also has some spicy taste. Of course, if saffron is powdered, it can only be detected with laboratory devices. However, there are other methods for detecting counterfeit saffron, which are mentioned below:
Appearance difference of plants: Corn corn is straight, but saffron flag is curved.
Place the saffron pieces on the gas flame. In this case, pure saffron turns purple or orange, which is related to its potassium. But in the case of counterfeit saffron, it turns yellow.
If we put saffron threads between the paper (newspaper paper) and press a little, it should not leave a grease stain. If so, it is most likely fake saffron.
When buying saffron, according to the type of packaging and the specifications listed on the packages, including; Note the number of the manufacturing and operation license from the Ministry of Health, the date of production and expiration, and the address of the manufacturer.