Saffron is the most valuable spice available on the world market. By weight the spice is worth more than gold.
Simply because the plant need delicate human touch, from planting to harvesting. It has steadfastly resisted all attempts to mechanize and indurialize its production.
A Crocus plant will grow 8 to 12 inches tall and each plant will bear up to 4 flowers. Each flower in turn will grow 3 stigma with the characteristic rich color of saffron. Each of these stigma must be harvested by hand along with the styles of the flower. These are what we know as saffron threads. It is this labor intensive and delicate cultivation that makes saffron so rare and precious.
It takes the stigma and styles of 150 flowers to make just one gram of saffron.
Of course, saffron can be bought in its powdered form but this gives an opportunity for the 'unscrupulous' to cut the precious spice with less valuable and flavorful ingredients. It is best ordered as threads. Still it is best to buy from a trusted source who specialize in saffron as even supermarket brands are known to mix in threads from other sources that do not carry saffron’s flavor.
The beautiful red orange hue of saffron comes from a pigment called crocin which has strong anti-oxidant properties. The smell and flavor of saffron come from picrocrocin and safranal complex aromatic compounds that yield incredible flavor and aroma in very small doses.
For a restaurant, supplier or a true connoisseur it is wise to source your saffron as directly as possible. 90% of Saffron comes from Iran and it is known for its superior quality particularly saffron from the Khorasan region. The suppliers at Cyrus Saffron are in a unique position to provide high quality saffron. Owning farms in Khorasan and they can bring the product from the flower to your spice rack knowing it is completely unadulterated. A perfect packet of flavor.