Saffron is a prominent edible coloring agent and flavor that is produced from 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”.
Kashmiri Saffron is known world wide for its incredible benefits. It is used as a spice, a condiment, an aphrodisiac, medicine and coloring agent.
We present the finest quality saffron from the fields of Kashmir. We are the growers of pure Kashmiri saffrom from generations at the famous place Pampora of Kashmir.
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.
The saffron stigma, which is what basically composes the commercial saffron has a distinct, unique color, flavor and aroma.
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.
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.
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.
Safranal is a volatile liquid oil which produces a yellow spot in water vapor and is readily soluble in ethanol, methanol and petroleum ether.
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.
Saffron is used as a spice, a condiment, an aphrodisiac and coloring agent.
USES OF SAFFRON
Saffron and Medicine
As a therapeutic plant, saffron is considered excellent for stomach ailment and is an antispasmodic, helps digestion and increases appetite. It is also considered that in small quantities it regulates women’s menstruation and helps conception.
In India, it is used as a herb in Ayurvedic medicines which heal a variety of diseases ranging from arthritis to Impotence and infertility. It is used for curing Asthma & cough and common cold. It is used in treating alcoholism and a few skin diseases. It is used for treatment of enlarged liver and infection of urinary bladders and kidneys (claim the Ayurvedic practitioners)
SAFFRON IN COOKING
As a spice it is used in cooking both as a coloring and flavoring agent.
It is used to improve flavor while giving distinct aroma and a beautiful golden color.
There is a great list of foods where saffron is added including cheese products such as cottage cheese and parmesan soups, various spirits, pasta and rice and many more.
It is an essential commodity in high milk/cream based confectionaries. It is used in various dairy products like ice-creams flavored milk, shrikkhand etc.
In India to serve saffron based delicacies during marriages and other celebrations is a norm.
Sweets laced with saffron are distributed during religious festivities.
Kashmiri Saffron Tea (Kahwa)
It is regarded as a delightful refreshing brew. All you have to do is, boil some water and add a few filaments of saffron along with some Kashmiri tea till half the water evaporates and the tea draws its strength. Add sugar to taste and serve it with freshly crushed almonds and powdered cardamom.
Saffron Milk (A Tonic For Health)
Soak about 1mg of saffron in 3-4 teaspoonful of Luke warm water and leave it for about half an hour till a concentrate of saffron is founded. Add this concentrate to a glass of 200 ml milk. Add sugar to taste along with some crushed almonds & pistachio. Serve it chilled during summer.
Sherbat is even cooler and simpler, an infusion of saffron stirred into sugar syrup and chilled out with ice. It is grandmother’s recipe to beat the scorching heat.