The Golden Spice: History, Cultivation, and Benefits of Saffron



Saffron is red gold of Iran

It is one of the most valuable and expensive spices in the world

Saffron, known as the “gold of Iran”, is one of the most valuable and expensive spices in the world. This amazing product not only pleases with its unique aroma and flavour, but also has many useful properties. Saffron is used in cookery, medicine and cosmetology, which makes it universal and in demand all over the world.

History and origin

Saffron has an ancient history going back to Persia, present day Iran. Since ancient times, it has been cultivated and used in various cultures, but it is Iran that has become the main producer of this unique spice. Iran’s climate and soils are ideal for growing saffron, resulting in a product of the highest quality.

Growing and harvesting process

The process of growing and harvesting saffron is extremely labour intensive and requires great attention to detail. The crocus flowers, from which saffron is extracted, bloom for only a few weeks of the year.

The harvesting is done by hand in the early morning when the flowers have just bloomed. Only three stigmas are harvested from each flower, which explains the high cost of this spice.

Useful properties

Saffron has many beneficial properties. It contains antioxidants that help fight inflammation and protect cells from damage. 

Saffron is also known for its antidepressant properties, improving mood and helping to cope with stress. In medicine, it is used to treat a variety of conditions including depression and even some cancers.

Use in cookery

In cookery, saffron is used to prepare a variety of dishes. It gives food a unique flavour and aroma, as well as a beautiful golden hue. 

Saffron is often added to rice dishes, soups, sauces and desserts. It is especially popular in traditional Iranian dishes such as shah pilaf and various types of kebabs.

Economic importance

Saffron is an important export item for Iran. The country produces about 90% of the world’s saffron, which generates significant income and provides jobs for thousands of people. The high quality of Iranian saffron is recognised worldwide and the demand for it continues to grow.

Head of the Study, Monitoring and Market Development Office of the Central Organisation of Rural Cooperatives of Iran says 21 metric tons of Iranian saffron worth US$207,786,281 were directly exported to 55 countries in the Iranian calendar year ending in late March.

“Despite the growth of exports in terms of weight and the increase in the price of this product in the country and international markets, we have observed a 15.7% decrease in the value of this product,” Roohollah Latifi said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the top destination for Iranian saffron with the purchase of 67,120 kg of saffron, followed by China with the purchase of 49,200 kg.

Saffron, the “gold of Iran”, deservedly holds a place of honour among the most valuable spices in the world. Its unique flavour and aromatic properties, numerous health benefits and complex production process make it a truly unique product. Try saffron and you will discover new facets of flavour and aroma that will give you an unforgettable culinary experience.





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