CLOSE OUT SALE
This online store will close permanently on Dec. 30th, 2013. Use our final coupon code “peace” at the checkout to get 15% off your entire order.
Our other online store (saffrononly.com) will remain open.
Welcome to our Fresh Saffron Market!
Saffron is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. Therefore, having any saffron is better than having no saffron. However, if you are looking for best quality, genuine saffron filaments at a reasonable price, then you are in the right place. We offer you the following:
100% pure saffron
Saffron from the most recent crop year (2012)
Higher quality than Grade I saffron
Low flat rate shipping fee
Next business day shipping via United States Postal Service
You will love our saffron or we will refund 100% of what you paid --- no questions asked! read more
Why should you consider buying your saffron from us?
If the reasons we mentioned in the above paragraph do not convince you, then here are two reasons why you should select us as your trusted source for the best saffron on the market:
1- We display the laboratory test result of coloring strength, aroma, and flavor for each brand of our new crop saffron. These numbers will tell you more about the quality of the saffron than a thousand pictures. We spend the money for laboratory testing. This is to equip you with the right tools in your search for the best quality saffron. Find out how these numbers can be used in deciding which brand would be the best saffron brand for your need. Read more.
2- We provide you with the age of our saffron by displaying the crop year date. This specificity is important if lab results are not available. The majority of saffron purveyors on the market claim to have fresh saffron yet do not provide you with the crop year date of their saffron.
We sell seven types of the world's most highly regarded saffron:
We do not sell pre-made powdered saffron, but as a service we can prepare it for you from our fresh saffron. For more information please contact us.
General Information about saffron
What is saffron?
Saffron is skillfully dried stigmas of crocus sativus flowers, a small perennial plant about a foot tall. Each flower has three female parts (stigmas) and two male parts (stamen). Each stigma is threadlike in appearance and is red or dark red in color towards the top and yellow towards the bottom of the stigma, where it is attached to the flower. Saffron has a bitter flavor and a strong, sharp, penetrating scent. The flavor, aroma, and coloring capability come from the red part of the stigma. The yellow part has no value as a spice.
We counted enough unbroken threads of our Kashmiri saffron until its weight reached one gram. There were 570 threads of Kashmiri saffron in one gram. Since three threads represent one flower, It would take on average about 190 flowers to produce one gram of saffron or about 5400 flowers to produce one ounce of saffron.
What are the uses of saffron?
Saffron has been used as spice and coloring agent for many centuries and has numerous medicinal properties. It is by far one of the oldest herbs ever used for medicinal purposes in the history of mankind and up to this date it is still being used in some regions of the world such as India. As an example, liquid saffron is good for nausea and does not lower the blood pressure. Europeans are believed to be among the first to use saffron as a spice in their cooking. Saffron is also used in many other industries such as the tobacco industry, alcohol industry, dairy industry, cosmetic industry for perfumes and facial creams, and the dye industry. Cleopatra used it to give her skin a golden color and romantic aroma. Saffron is also used in religious ceremonies. Tibetan Monks use saffron for prayer and blessing. Calligraphers have used saffron to write religious books such as the Koran.
How hard is it to use saffron?
Saffron is an extremely friendly spice and is very easy to use. Use it in any dish you may think it would be good. Possibilities are endless. Just throw a pinch of saffron and experiment with this genie of spices. Do not be intimidated by saffron. Even if you use it in a wrong dish, it will not ruin your food. Some folks think that they have to be an experienced gourmet chef or some sort of chemist to use saffron. That is absolutely wrong. If you can make an egg omelet, you can use saffron; if you enjoy cooking with spices, in no time you will master it. Saffron is truly a fun spice to work with.
What is fresh saffron?
Fresh saffron is not the same as fresh produce. Saffron threads are not sold right after being plucked from the flower. Saffron threads need to be properly dehydrated to avoid mold and to prolong its shelf life. Once the dehydration process is complete then the saffron is ready to be sold. The term “fresh saffron” refers to saffron that is less than one year old. The finest quality saffron comes from fresh saffron. You might read elsewhere that fresh saffron is identified by the orange color on the tips of the saffron threads. This certainly is not a sign to identify fresh saffron but rather denotes quality saffron. We can show you saffron that is three years old and its threads still have orange colored tips. The best way to identify fresh saffron is to look for the “crop year” date on the label. The majority of saffron producers refuse to print the “crop year” date on their packages which is unfortunate for the consumer. At Sahar Saffron the crop date of every brand of saffron we offer is displayed below its photograph on our website.
What is pure saffron?
Saffron is known to be the world's most expensive spice. Throughout history, dishonest dealers would adulterate their saffron by adding similar materials for added weight or by dyeing the lower quality saffron strands red, which is the sign of good quality saffron. Pure saffron contains only the stigma of the Crocus flower with nothing else added. Pure saffron strands composed of red and yellow portions of the stigma are less potent than the pure saffron composed entirely of the red portions of the stigma. On the other hand saffron strands composed of red and yellow portions of the stigma shows that it is not dyed, since it is not cost efficient to dye saffron strands partially red. The most important rule in buying saffron is to find a source that you can trust. The saffron we sell on this site is procured by highly trusted suppliers that are well known world wide for their quality for many decades.
How is saffron quality measured?
The quality of saffron is mostly measured by its coloring strength. Higher coloring strength means higher quality saffron. Generally, the coloring strength is presented by two or three digit number such as 95 or 180 or 235. The higher number represents higher quality saffron. According to ISO (International Organization for Standardization), any saffron with coloring strength of 190 and above is called GRADE I saffron which is a good quality saffron. The problem is that, two different types of saffron, one with coloring strength of 190 and the other with 250 both are called Grade I saffron but there is a big difference in quality of these two types of saffron. Some believe that this number should be printed on saffron packages so the consumer knows what quality saffron they are buying. Although this seems very reasonable to demand there is a problem. The coloring strength of saffron decreases gradually over time. A saffron that had 250 coloring strength at the test time could be any number below 250 after being stored for a while and this number will depend on how the saffron was stored and for how long. Since most saffron packages have no crop date, it would be inaccurate and misleading to print this number on the package.
What are the signs of good quality saffron?
Good quality saffron is saffron which has a decent coloring capabilities and has a pleasant aroma. Saffron's coloring capabilities come from the red portion of the saffron threads and not the yellow portions that are left uncut in lower grade saffron. Therefore a good quality saffron is a saffron that is all red. This criterion is necessary but not sufficient. For example, an all red saffron that is 10 years old is not a good quality saffron. The next criteria is aroma. Old saffron looses its pungent aroma and sometimes it has no aroma at all. So, a good quality saffron is saffron that is completely red and has a nice aroma. Please note that this does not mean that any pure saffron strands with some yellow in it is not decent saffron. It is just not as potent as saffron that is completely red. In fact, some people prefer saffron with yellow in it and to them it is not saffron if the stigma does not have any yellow.
What region of the world has the best saffron?
Ask this question from a chef in Spain, he will tell you that Spanish saffron is the best in the world. Ask the same question from an Iranian chef, he will assure you that Iranian saffron is the best. An Indian chef will tell you that Kashmiri saffron is the best. Who is telling the truth? The fact is that they are all telling you what they believe. If you grew up with one type of saffron, most likely that type of saffron is your preferred brand. If you are a saffron fan you have to try it for yourself to see which region's saffron fits your taste the best.
How to store saffron?
Crocin is the only natural chemical in saffron, responsible for coloring. Crocin is found only in the red portion of saffron threads. When saffron is fresh, the amount of Crocin in the saffron threads is the highest. As saffron ages, Crocin converts itself to another chemical compound called Safranel which is responsible for aroma. This explains why saffron that is aged a bit has more aromas. No matter how you store your saffron, you can not stop this ageing process or transition (freeze dry? maybe but we have no information on that). However, certain conditions in the environment where saffron is stored will accelerate this transition or aging process. These conditions are heat, moisture and light. Therefore, to get the most life out of your saffron you need to slow down this transition or put the saffron into hibernation. It is recommended to store saffron in a cool, dry and preferably dark place. According to the saffron experts, environment temperature for storing saffron should not exceed 20C (68F) and humidity must not be above 40 percent. Refrigeration is not recommended as it will collect moisture faster once it is out of the refrigerator unless you use all of it immediately. Crocin really is the blood of saffron, and once it is gone, the coloring power, aroma, and flavor are too, and the saffron is considered useless. You should also know that this aging process will take many years if saffron is stored properly. Saffron ages gracefully so do not panic. Many chefs keep their saffron in their desk drawer and saffron stays just fine. You can keep your saffron with your other spices on the kitchen shelf but try to use it within two years.
How long can saffron be stored?
Saffron can be stored for several years and will retain most of its potency if stored properly. (See above)
Where can I get more information about saffron?
The information provided above is basic and is intended for casual users. For more helpful and interesting information on saffron, visit any of the following web sites: