The word saffron derives from the Arab word zafaran, meaning yellow. Saffron and Iran are uniquely linked together. Despite its small size, this spice is quite expensive, and is suitable for many applications. The undisputed capital for saffron production is Iran, where the tradition dates back over 3000 years. The country produces over 90% of the 250 tons produced worldwide each year, boosted by unique ecological conditions that deliver a strong-flavored, aromatic crop that is a staple of local cuisine, cosmetics and traditional medicine. Persian saffron is a natural spice also called Red Gold. It is globally known for its incomparable quality, fascinating fragrance, pleasant flavor, and superb coloring strength.
The scientific name for saffron is crocus sativus. It is both a bulbous and herbal plant. The lifespan of the saffron plant is 7 to 10 years. The brown bulb of the saffron plant belongs to the corm family. Each bulb grows into 6 to 9 thin, herbal leaves. In the autumn, one or two pink or purple colored flowers bloom from each corm. The pistil of the saffron flower is in the center and contains the ovary and the thin, yellow style growing inside. Saffron flowers have bright, red stigmas that are 20 to 30 mm in length. The stigma is the edible and commercial part of saffron. The stigma has many chemical components, such as: carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, pigment (especially crocin), essence (especially safranal) and flavorings (especially picrocin).
Saffron seeds are planted in May or August, then irrigated with care, before the bright pink or violet flowers bloom for about three weeks from mid-October. The stigmas are separated and left to dry in sheds, or hung from the roof in special containers, and then crushed into powder. It takes a staggering 2000 to 3000 flowers to make about 15 g of saffron powder.
The main saffron cultivation areas in Iran are in eastern and southeastern parts of the country, the Khorassan Province region has managed to achieve an excellent position on the production and export of saffron over the years, to the extent that some 90% of saffron production in Iran is obtained from there. The Qayen region in this province is well-known for its quality saffron.
There are other regions in Iran with a history of cultivation but their production has been mainly for domestic consumption with minor role in the country’s export. These regions are in Fars Province, the EStajbanat mainly, and part of Kerman Province whose production is presently on the rise. In general, since the cultivation of saffron requires strong sunshine and warm climate with clayey or sandy land, the eastern part of Iran has a specially suitable environment for its cultivation. The land area under cultivation in Kerman is estimated at 6000 hectares.
I visited Iran with a slovenian agency and Ahmad Janati was our tour guide. I would definitely recommend him, as he possesses a huge amount of knowledge in history, politics, culture,... His English is very good, which makes things a lot easier for you when...More
My wife and I spent two weeks in Iran on tour with Ahmad in May this year. We so enjoyed his knowledge and company and driving us around to suit our interests. We also went to places like Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran. One...More
The tour with Ahmad was part of a three week tour around ( part ) of the country. We have been in many places and met nice people. I have enjoyed my time. He knows the country and want to share it. Great ! I...More
Had a great time in Tehran with Ahmad Janati-he took us all over Tehran. It was an amazing experience. The people were so nice-even for a big city such as Tehran. Ahmad accommodated all of our requests for the things we were interested in seeing-Shah's...More
Sadly Americans can no longer visit Iran but if we could we would return immediately and of course spend our trip with Ahmad. He has extensive and thorough understanding of both the history and modern circumstances of this fascinating country. Ahmad is passionate about his...More
At the beginning we were scared to have a guide driving the two of us for two weeks. What if we don't like each other? It turned out that Ahmad is an excellent guide not because he possesses a lot of knowledge about his country...More
Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kashan and Qom: for two weeks we were regaled with many insights into the fabulous centuries-old history of Iran. From the roots of the Zoroastrianism to the splendors of Persepolis, a journey through the country’s history is given more meaning when...More