Sativus Saffron Bulbs
Wholesale Organic Crocus Sativus
IBS has direct relationship with an Agricultural Holding that produces bulbs of Crocus Sativus Saffron ( organic product as well ) and it is able to support a buyer in the finalisation of the DAP purchase and delivery of bulbs ( free at destination ) at the Client Company stock in the whole European customs territory and in the countries outside EU .
Prices are competitive and the best quality of bulbs is ensured . They are delivered through specialised logistics service .
CONTACT US FOR A COMMERCIAL OFFER :
For getting a quote, please make contact with our Commercial Area, filling out the CONTACT FORM that follows or contact a manager at the following telephone number : +39 348 29 20 146.
In order to make this commercial process more efficient, please write in the request :
- Number of bulbs
- Size of bulbs
- In which month would you like the planting of bulbs
Thank you for the cooperation.
In 1900 our Grandfather began to cultivate bulbs . At that time he started out small while he bred cows . He handled tulips, daffodils, crocuses, gladioli and irises . From one generation to another this business of bulbs became more important and therefore it was expanded . After spending some time growing flowers and plants, our father continued to cultivate bulbs .
IN CROCUS SATIVUS AND IN UNCOMMON FLOWER BULB SPECIES
He focused on growing different varieties of uncommon bulb species, such as Kaiser ‘s crown , Colchicum, Allium and Ixia . About thirty years ago, a flower bulb species known as Crocus Sativus was bought . Learning information about this variety made us understand that we just found our tresor . It lighted up our interest and vision to expand our growing capacity . Our biggest seller is now Crocus Sativus Saffron .
THE GREAT SUPPLIER
OF CROCUS SATIVUS BULBS
By the years, our company has considerably developed and today we are great suppliers of Crocus sativus bulbs in the Netherlands . We cooperate with numerous renowned flower bulb growers . We sell and export our non – organic and organic saffron bulbs to customers around the world . We are able to provide our customers with information and assist them in creating their saffron cultivation because we have more than 30 years of experience in the cultivation and production of these products .
BULBS SIZE OF CROCUS SATIVUS
Our Company sells various sorts of Bulbs, both certified organic and non – organic, of various sizes . Here are some photos :
DETAILED INFORMATION ON CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON
WHAT IS SAFFRON
Saffron (/ˈsæfrən/ or /ˈsæfrɒn /) is known as the spice that comes from Crocus sativus Linnaeus . This species of crocus are part of the family of Iridaceae and it is also called the saffron crocus, saffron bulbs or saffron corms as well .
CROCUS SATIVUS LINNAEUS
Crocus sativus L. is a plant that is mainly herbaceous . This plant sprouts from a globular bulb that creates other bulbs that will become crocuses and they will produce more bulbs . Crocus sativus has thin green leaves, vivid red stigmas that extend in the petals, yellow stamens and three precious, they are very long ( 25 – 30 mm ) and perfumed lavender blooms with purple veins . These three types of stigmas are in the blossoms of this crocus and they are the actual saffron .
They are dried and used for drugs, pigmentation aims and food flavouring . As to the dye for food and flavouring, stigmas are well known in the world as saffron spice , i.e. the most costly spice in the world . The quality and quantity of labor in this spice ’s harvesting has a very high market value .
THE ROYAL SAFFRON
THE CROCUS SATIVUS
Saffron spice offers a unique bittersweet flavour, for example like hay and honey . Everyone should taste it in order to realize exactly how does it taste . Saffron tastes as bittersweet as it smells . Some say, “ it does taste like the sea .” Some say, “ it ’s mush – roomy, and smoky ”. And some say, “ it ’s metallic, with whiff of seashells and honey tones .”
MORE ABOUT SAFFRON
On our internet site we describe more about this singular and particular spice that has been cultivated for more than 4000 years and has different scopes . You can discover more details on the history of saffron and its various scopes in the present and past . We can inform you more about the saffron cultivation and how you can create your own nursery as well .
SAFFRON ’S COMPONENTS
WHICH ELEMENTS MAKE SAFFRON SO SINGULAR
Thanks to its folkloric fame as a medicinal herb that heals a lot of illnesses, the modern medicine tries to explain the mystery of saffron, studying its properties and taking advantage from various potentials, that are given to the medical field . Therefore, more than a hundred chemical components are isolated and are accessible for medical commercial applications as well . The most important parts of saffron are : picrocrocin, which provides the bittersweet, rusty flavour ; crocin, which offers the yellow pigmentation from the stigmas and safranal, which gives the earthy aroma to the saffron .
The chemicals elements in saffron can be ranked according to their volatility, or its absence . The main non – volatile elements include α – crocin, crocin, carotenoids that has zeaxanthin, lycopene and both alpha – and beta – carotenes, picrocrocin, and crocetin . The main volatile parts have terpene, terpene esters, and terpene alcohol . Furthermore, safranal is a volatile composite made by picrocrocin thanks to the contact with enzymes and heat in the drying process .
Picrocrocin and crocin are really sensitive to air and light . This explains why saffron should be kept in airtight containers and laid away in a dark and cool place when they are not used . The subjection to sunlight and atmospheric oxygen could create oxidation that will hardly decrease the properties of picrocin and crocin, damaging the saffron quality . Saffron ’s anti – oxidant properties are also studied for the use on drugs against depression, cancer and other neuron – degenerative disorders .
Saffron ‘s anti – inflammatory properties are also given by the elements of the crocus petals : anthocyanins flavonoids and tannins . In fact, flavonoids have, hesperidin, rutin, luteolin, bioflavonoids and quercetin . For people who love saffron, the basic chemical transformations happen when they use it ; this can sound weird to them, but it ’s fundamental that they know that saffron offers them giddy feeling, light that seems to make promises that everything will be fine .
THE CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON CULTIVATION
Saffron is collected from the blossoms of Crocus sativus ( Iridaceae ), called saffron bulbs or saffron crocus . It is spread by corms, a type of bulbs . Each corm creates new bulbs, and in this way plants increase . Saffron flowers appear in autumn and red stigmas are harvested with the name of saffron threads, from which the spice comes from . Every blossom provides three stigmas that are carefully picked by hand . Flowers have to be harvested before noon time since they wither simply . This process is meticulous and monotonous . For this reason saffron is so precious and in fact it is known as red gold .
Saffron crocus can be found in countries like, India, Iran, Morocco, New Zealand, Italy, Pennsylvania, Spain, Afghanistan, France, Portugal, some parts of China, Turkey and Greece . Since this plant has spread in disparate areas of the world, saffron planting and cultivation techniques might be different , depending on the type of soil, spacing of corms, depth of planting and climate .
The Crocus sativus matures in disparate soil types but it is better if it grows in humus – rich, well – drained and calcareous soil with a pH between 6 and 8 . Saffron corms can develop in dry or semi – dry soil types, by the way, you have to bear in mind, that during drought periods in autumn and spring, you need to irrigate the land . If you make saffron corms grow in semi – wet or wet soil types you have to be sure that your land is well – drained in order to block corms from infections or rotting during times of wet weather .
For the cultivation of saffron, we require a climatological summer and winter with temperatures between from –15 Celsius degrees or – 20 Celsius degrees in winter, to about no more than 35 Celsius degrees or 40 Celsius degrees in summer . This is the reason why saffron is also cultivated in continental, dry and moderate climate types but not in polar or tropical climate types . Due to the fact that Crocus sativus is a bulbous heat – tolerant plant, hot and dry summers won’t be an obstacle . By the way, during winter periods and temperatures, it’s possible that leaves could dry – freeze, i.e. corms will grow less and for this it will give less saffron .
When strong frost threatens your saffron field, we have to to cover the plants with straw or fibre cloth for protection and you can take off the covers when frost disappears . In dry climatological periods in spring time, irrigation is crucial . In this time, regular rainfall is optimal for the corms growing, and this means higher yields of flowers and daughter corms .
When you plant saffron corms for the first time, you should opt for a unused patch of land, where no other saffron corms or tubers grew up there, if it is feasible ( whether not, none in the last ten years at least ). Before planting, it is good to plow the soil 20 to 50 centimetres deep maintaining the planting beds well – aired and loose, including organic fertilizer in the process . Especially the type of soil in Spain requires this kind of preparation .
For the saffron cultivation, planting corms on raised beds is optimal to safeguard drainage and irrigation . Irrigation must be be very low when the corms begin to grow leaves . In July, planting starts, August and September by hand or by machine, and the harvesting comes at the end of October to mid – November, about eight weeks after the plantation . Saffron crocuses are sun – worshipping plants, therefore they must be planted in dry open fields and not in shade .
Usually, corms are seeded between 7 – 15 centimetres deep in the soil . The deeper they are planted, the less the corms can increase, but there will be a higher quality of the blossoms made .
Let’s discover the “row system” in planting corms. Every row is generally 15 to 20 centimetres away from the other. Dig holes in the first row and every row must be filled with a corm. When you dig in the second row, use the soil that you have dug up to cover the corms seeded in the first row, etc. Maintain the rows raised for ventilation and drainage. Produce a block of rows and make space enough to have a passage between each block. It will be easier to walk along the crocus field when you work on water, weed, and later, harvest.
The space between corms depends on their sizes . As regards to the saffron cultivation in Italy, farmers plant corms with a space of at 2 – 3 centimetres between them and 10 to 15 centimetres deep, a method that offers them a maximum harvest of blossoms and a lot of corm – lets . Farmers in Greece make a 25 centimetre of space between every row and a 12 centimetre distance between corms, each of which is 15 centimetres deep in the ground . In Spain, rows are spaced 3 centimetres and the corms, 6 centimetres. In India, there is a space of 15 to 20 centimetres between each row, and between every corm, 7.5 to 10 centimetres .
Spacing depends on how frequently grubbing is planned as well . Grubbing means the complete removal of saffron corms from the land to divide the formed mother corms and the corm – lets and to save them for the following planting season . Biennial grubbing needs a spacing around 5 – 10 centimetres between each corm ; for a longer time, it’s better between 10 to 20 centimetres .
Safeguarding techniques must be taken against rabbits, rodents and birds . Corm rot, nematodes, leaf rusts and other pathogens have to be prevented from damaging the saffron crocus plants too .
The saffron crocus ’ corms are fine for four years crop, and the fifth year, they require to be dug . In Italy and Spain, the grubbing is made between June and July, and in Greece, it is made inside May and June . When the saffron leaves turn wilted and brown, the corms are asleep and are set for the grubbing .
The fields are increased using a plough machine or a hoe and the corms are collected by hand . Afterwards corms are cleaned from undesired bulbs and weeds, and new planting materials are ranged according to proportions . The corms has not to remain out in the sun longer than 1 or 2 hours . Then these classified corms are stored in a dry , dark but well – ventilated place until the following planting period .
Taking away weed needs the boring, manual method, mainly if you deal with root weeds . Machine – weeding can be used in the saffron cultivation, but the risk of harming the bulbs occurs . Plus, most farmers want to do it in the classic way . The longer the weeds remain in the saffron beds, the more difficult they will be to take away, so it is better to work on them as soon as possible . Once the saffron leaves have withered but it is not the period for grubbing yet, take away the brown leaves to notice the weeds easily .
THE HARVEST OF SAFFRON
In the middle of October, saffron flowers start to blossom, and this blooming furthers for three weeks . There will be a period of increased blossoming known as “ blanket days ” that lasts from 2 to 6 days . Blooms that come out in the night have to be harvested at dawn the very following day before midday to avoid petals from wilting . It is better to harvest “ sleeping ” blooms , to protect high – quality saffron from threads .
Once the blooms are harvested, they will go to the “ stripping ” area where the stigmas or threads are very precisely removed by hand . The yellow and white parts of the stigma must not be involved in the cutting, only the red parts .
After the stripping comes the drying, called toasting as well, and it is made daily when the last threads are dried . Due to their high humidity, the harvested stigmas are dehydrated when they are toasted at temperature not higher than 60 C° . We must lcheck that threads are not overdone . Hence, the “ toaster ” ( the person who has this task ) has a very precise role in the making of high quality saffron . After toasting, threads will extremely decrease their weight and size, down to 80 % of the original one . 5 kg of fresh stigmas provides a mere kilo of vivid, dried crimson threads .
Furthermore, stigmas may be dried in an oven or over hot coals as well . You have to spread the fresh threads on a wire mesh with baking paper and then place the in the centre of the oven . The heat has to be at 50 Celsius degrees, watching the threads attentively for about 10 to 20 minutes until they are ready to fall away from each other . As to bulk drying, saffron threads are put in a special place at 30 Celsius degrees to 35 Celsius degrees for 10 – 12 hours . A more modern procedure is the utilization of a dehydrator, with temperature at 48 Celsius degrees for 3 hours . The length of time, seems to depends on the amount of threads to dry . But most fundamental thing is that they don’t over – dry because it could decrease the price and quality of the saffron threads .
Once the threads are dried, they transform into dark vivid red, with the dark orange tips . They are made cool and swathed in foil or tissue and they are put in airtight jars, covered and maintained in a dark, cool corner for at least thirty days before they are ready to be used . They can remain in that nook for a long time and still be used for the flavouring of dishes .
CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON
CULTIVATION ’S PLANT CYCLE
Saffron corms have levels of transitory, dormancy and activity . The transitory period starts when the corms turn into mother corms and create new bulbs or corm lets . The activity period starts when they are planted and they grow roots, flowers, shoots and leaves . The dormancy period is when the corms reach the mature level and are no longer creating new bulbs . In the dormant period there are dried up roots and wilted leaves . The corms require to be dug up and they need to rest for some time before they could be replanted to be productive again .
As to the planting area, it is very recommended to let a saffron field “ rest ” for about 10 to 12 years after a maximized cropping cycle in order to be refreshed or recovered . It is better to move out to a field never used or a refreshed field to begin a new cycle . This will ensure you with a solid plantation that will offer great yields .
DIFFERENT SIZES OF SAFFRON CORMS
OF CROCUS SATIVUS
Corms are sorted and classified according to their dimensions . The size of a corm establishes its quantity . Years of experience have led to the fact that the larger the mother corms is, the more it produces, the higher the quantity of stigmas and flowers in the first year of planting .
OF CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON
STANDARDIZATION AND QUALITY CONTROL
With this concentrated work and small amount of products from this drudgery the saffron production can be subjected to fraud . In the past, saffron scams produced the creation of the Safranschou Code, which punishes the double – dealers with incarceration, execution and penalties . However, the trade turned lax and there have been ever more fraud . Coupé saffron stigmas can be combined with low quality threads, or with other plants ’ filaments . Moreover, Saffron powder can be combined with turmeric and other similar spices . These strategies are not legal and this compromises the saffron production and consumers .
Today security measures are provided by the ISO, known as International Standards Organization too, that offers a homogeneous grading system for the saffron powder and saffron filaments . The ISO / TS 3632 was released in 1980, and it was created for the industry of saffron . It modified on a regular basis, with the latest version in 2011 . These standards show the orginality and quality of the saffron products sorted by categories, checking their packaging and labelling too . The market cost of saffron derivates depends on the outcome of this inspection .
Saffron sample grading depends on laboratory standards such as aroma, colour and flavour . This implies tests for the major components picrocrocin , crocinand, safranal with a photo – spectroscopy . They have to surpass a certain level in order to be either at the lowest or poorest category as well . Especially for crocin, it is the primary thought because the other components are related to its presence . Authentic saffron powders and threads are ranged from I to IV, with I as the finest and IV the poorest . The following is the grading scale for crocin absorbance :
Grade I : > 190
Grade II : > 150
Grade III : > 110
Grade IV : < 110
In Spain, saffron is sorted in a different way, not with ISO 3632, but the type of scale is pretty much same . However, category labels are different :
Sierra : < 110
Standard : 110 –150
Rio: 150 - 180
Mancha : 180 – 190 and
Coupe : > 190
Saffron from Iran is boasted to be the best quality due to the favourable climate in which the crocus plants grow in and the modern technology used in the drying process . For the Iranian traders, there is only one type of saffron : Sargol . Although it is different, the scales are pretty much the same : the higher the figure, the higher the light absorbency , the higher the crocin content and the more intense the colourant . Practically, the higher quality .
CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON HISTORY
It is not easy to find where exactly the cultivation of saffron started, and it has the name of the world ‘s most costly spice . But we can find it as far as the existence of the Persian word zarparān ( ‘ having golden stigmas ‘) from which the Arabic word za’farān was probably originated instead of the Arabic adjective asfar ( which means ‘yellow’); it is almost the same to the Persian word za’ferân which comes from the Old French word ‘ safran ‘, from where the Latin word ‘ safranum ‘ derived .
Saffron in Lineair B finally, the English word ‘ saffron ‘ derives from the Latin ‘ safranum ‘ from which the Spanish word ‘ azafrán ‘ and the Italian word ‘ zafferano ‘ came from (b oth meaning saffron ). The other words for saffron in other languages are : ‘ kesar ‘ or ‘ zafran ‘ ( India ) , ‘ sáfrány ‘ ( Hungarian ), ‘ azafrai ‘ ( Basque ), ‘ khekhrum ‘ ( Armenian ) , ‘ szafran ‘ ( Polish ), ‘ shafran ‘ ( Russian ),’ azupiranu ‘ ( Akkadian ) ,’ safranu ‘ ( Romanian ), ‘ zaferen ‘ ( Turkish ), ‘ saframi ‘ ( Finnish ), ‘ safrà ‘ ( Catalonian ), ‘ safrána ‘ ( Latvian ), ‘ hong hua ‘ ( China ) , ‘ safárum ‘ ( Malaysian ),’ saffran ‘ ( German ), ‘ kurkum ‘ ( Farsi ) and ‘ azafrán ‘ ( Galician ). The similarity of these terms shows the global fame that the famous spice has in the history .
CROCUS SATIVUS HISTORY OF USES
A lot of time had passed and now we have only not clear ideas in where saffron was initially found, as well as how it took its name . It is interesting to discover how far back in time saffron had been loved and which countries had specific uses for it .
The earliest evidence of the East Mediterranean people were already deal with saffron crocus in 2300 B. C. are the words of a great king, Sargon of Akkad, a great governor of the Akkadian empire from the city of Azupiranu, in the in Ancient History texts as Saffron City . This charming city was known because it had to largely grow saffron crocus , or the cultivation of the spice plant must had to be located in that place during this period .
The well – known fresco, Saffron Gatherer Frescoes was discovered in Knossos and it is from 1600 BC , Greece and another one from 1500 BC in Santorini, Greece, both describing the whole process of saffron harvest and finally made an offering in a ritual worship, and monkeys and young girls plucked saffron filaments . In Thebes, Egypt, a medical papyrus of 1600 BC as well was found in a tomb and it showed the medicinal function of saffron . These documents and frescoes are real evidence of the saffron culture in the past too . In fact, today analyses of such frescoes showed the fact that they strongly emphasize the medicinal skill of crocus more than everything .
Saffron was a luxury, reserved for the nobility in the past . Queens, kings, monks and pharaohs bathed in saffron water for healing wounds and as prelude to romance, they brought saffron perfumes, donned saffron – dyed robes, had drinks laced with saffron spice and ate food with saffron, prayed to their gods with saffron offerings and slept comfortably in beds speckled with saffron threads . World literature tells how the old people used to treasure saffron . Saffron crocus is the krakom in the Bible in Solomon ‘s Song of Songs . There is krokus in the work of several Greek philosopher such as Sophocles, Homer and Hippocrates . Virgil, Ovid and other Roman artists also gave saffron a leading role in their work .
In his poems, Iran ‘s famous poet Ferdowi tells about the use of saffron in victorious honouring . Kashmiri poet and Mohammed Yusuf Teng highlighted that cultivation of saffron had mentioned for a long time in Kashmiri Tantric Hindu epics in the ancient times . The saffron was important and the trade of saffron became in fact profitable because it brought an high amount of gold . The old saffron traders were called saffron grocers . Arabs, Romans, Egyptians, Asians and Europeans were in this trade, and so we found out how saffron became widely famous in this period : thanks to the trade and the smuggling .
The painting known as “ The triumph of death ” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The triumph of death in the pandemic Black Death ( Bubonic Plague ) around the 1500 in Europe, saffron was very important in economy history . The need of the ingredient as a medicine led to its importation from abroad, and unfortunately to illegal shipments . This problem went down in history when a saffron shipment toward Basel was headed off by a baron, and a long battle, lasted 3 months, procedeed to recover the shipment . Today history tells the incident as the Saffron War which positively established Basel as a centre and take – off place for cultivation of crocus sativus in Europe .
History tells us that in the past, saffron was clearly the most sought spice for its incredible powers to cure a big range of ailments . A lot of nations have higlighted of the use of saffron in medicine, it has the skill to settle and cure common discomforts to serious disorders of teenagers, adult men, babies, toddlers and women as well as old people .
With an ever more active saffron trade, rules had to be created to protect equity in the market prices and freedom from adulteration in every batch of spice . The Safranschou code was instituted and fraud was punishable by imprisonment, death by fire, and fines .
In India, saffron is used mainly in ayurvedic medicine . In the Middle East, it was put in a botanical dictionary around 1300 found in the Assurbanipal Library as a medicinal entry . In London, Nicholas Culpeper ‘s Complete Herbal showed saffron ‘s medicinal properties in a quaint paragraph . In Germany, Crocologia, a book about saffron describes its medical skills and it was published in 1670 .
SAFFRON IN THE KITCHEN
Due to its world – known exotic aroma and taste, saffron will always be a principal ingredient that can suit with every part of the pantry in different kitchens in the world . It is not in the place where you could forget it, but it is there to go on with its shelf life . Saffron has essential chemical components like picrocin ( which gives the spicy flavor ) crocin ( which gives the eggyolk – yellow color ), and safranal ( which gives the hay – like aroma ). These components make saffron an exotic spice that goes well with other food and spices and makes any dish very tasty .
Saffron comes from the crocus blossoms, and offers a pleasant sweet strong smell and aroma and just a little of it is enough to make a dish unique . In fact saffron has a great value, because it is one of the most costly spices all over the world . It takes around 600 stigmas ( threads ) or 200 saffron blossoms to make only a gram of spice and around 450.000 stigmas or 150.000 blossoms to make a kilogram . Harvesting saffron threads has to be a careful work, because they are safely picked by hand . Now you can imagine why Saffron costs so much . But finally, a little of coupé saffron powder or three saffron threads are enough, and with cautious use, it ’s worth to spend money for it .
You can put saffron in a glass of water to extract flavour and the natural yellow colourant from it, just putting a spoon of threads in a hot but not boiling liquid such as water,milk, oil, alcohol or broth ; then let it stand for a couple hours up for 24 hours, if you want to maximize its skills . This is the perfect process to obtain the best essence of saffron . But for a quick fix , you could soak one spoon of threads in five spoons of liquid for around 20 minutes . Afterwards you can mush the threads to create a paste, or you can produce your own powdered condiment, by only throwing threads in a heavy frying pan over low fire . Toast it slowly, be careful not to burn them and then blend the threads to powder . One spoon of threads ( about 8 threads ) should produce ½ spoon of powder .
In areas where crocuses are planted for commercial production or local consumption, saffron dishes have gained international fame and they are served on specific tables . Saffron suits with cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla, fish, pasta, pastry, cheeses, tomato soups, lamb, and chicken . Saffron rice is an usual dish used by a lot of countries . Saffron is used not only to harmonize the flavour of main course dishes but also to spice up desserts and beverages . It is a type of flexible ingredient .
In the centre of Asia, crocus plants were grown in small gardens for domestic use . But it is in Kashmir, India that the best saffron is grown on big quantities for commercial distribution . Indian cuisine features saffron : it blends like garam masala ; in rice – meat dishes like the biryani and its similar and pulao, a “ jeweled rice dish ” made for weddings and banquets ; in desserts like kesari bhath, which is made during festivals ; in sweets like kufil, gulab jamun and double ka meetha ; and in an Indian drink named saffron lassi, which is made for religious ceremonies . Saffron can also be mixed with pistachio and cardamom to give taste to ice cream . Furthermore, China tells about of early use of saffron in religious rituals, food and medicine . In China, saffron is called “ the red flower of Tibet ”, because the crocus flowers have been brought to Shanghai via Tibet .
CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON AND RICE
In Morocco, saffron is used in different types of the tajine dishes . In the Middle East and in the Afghanistan cuisine, saffron has got many functions as well . It is a usual component in many rice dishes, like the qabali and sholleh zard and the adas polow, a type of rice pudding . Iraq offers own version of saffron rice known as timman z’affaran . Furthermore, saffron is used give aroma to chelow kabab, the Iran national dish . Arabians use cardamom and saffron but the others think that cinnamon is a special aroma for tea and coffee .
In Europe, saffron is put in vegetable soups and fish and also in desserts like cakes and ice cream . In Germany, saffron is a main ingredient in the Gugelhupf cake . In France, it is put in the new French Bouillabaisse . In Sweden, they use it for the well – known lussekatt ( also lussekatter ) or lussebulle, a saffron bun prepared most of all for St. Lucy ’s Day . In England and Cornwall, saffron buns are common in religious festivities too . In Italy, it is put in risotto alla milanese and in drinks like the strega, chartreuse and izarra . In Spain, the best quality of saffron may be found aside from Kashmir too and saffron are threads to give colour to a rice dish known as paella, or in a fish dish known as zarzuela de pescado and in another dish named fabada .
In the United States, the cultivation of saffron was spread to Pennsylvania thanks to the Dutch . There it was traded and used to give taste and colour fish dishes, noodles and sweets .
Research evidences that saffron has the electrolytes potassium and sodium, and is rich in other minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium, copper, calcium, manganese and iron . It is also rich in vitamins A, B and C. Hence, saffron seems to work beyond the palate because it offers nutritive benefits to the health too .
SAFFRON ’S HEALING POWER
The skills of saffron as a natural healer throw us back in the ancient times, with evidences given by age – old frescoes and documents which show the old people ‘s use of ” saffron filaments ” to reduce illnesses. In fact at the beginning saffron became known in the area of traditional medicine before it became a household spice for dye and condiment .
Every region that knows how to produce crocuses has its own method to cure illnesses using saffron . Saffron is mentioned in very old Chinese herbal medicine documents . In Mesopotamia, there was a ritual where different kind of dancing and chanting were made to evoke saffron ‘s healing powers . Battle – weary Persian and Greek warriors soaked themselves in saffron baths for cure and comfort, a ritual that was made famous by Alexander the Great . Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman medical encyclopedist, described saffron as a cure to poison in his works of De Medicina . The ancient Indian ayurvedic medicine needed saffron as a very important ingredient for many medicinal remedies as well .
By the years saffron has turned into a universally known medicinal herb that heals any discomfort or disorder, with its effectiveness proved by new clinical studies or sheer millennial experience . Let us see, how does saffron heal thee ? These are the following ways :
Saffron helps to create a better mood and therefore cures melancholia . It helps to make the body and the senses more active as well . Saffron with other oils and steeped for short time periods turns strong enough to react as sedative or as a relaxant . You can eat it in small quantities because it helps to enforce the respiratory system, cardio – vascular system,immune system, reproductive system and the nervous system .
Some research describe that a person must be really aware with the quantity of saffron used in medication, because if you overtake this spice it can be very dangerous . Usually, only 1 – 3 grams of saffron threads are in extracted essences and only 30 mg of powder for oral ingestion in a day . However, recent research on traditional medicine explain that saffron is non – toxic and that reaction to treatment could be created by other reasons . One reason could be that it is not the actual crocus sativus .
Saffron has anti – inflammatory properties, and it helps to calm asthmatic attacks by clearing swollen airways and restoring normal breathing . The same is for colds, flu, bronchitis and coughs ; a glass of warm milk with a bit of saffron makes you feel better and breathe when saffron helps loosen the bothersome phlegm .
CARDIO – VASCULAR SYSTEM
Saffron contains cardio – tonic components that make heart medicines simply to go into the body and go to the heart . The antioxidants in saffron avoids circulatory problems by keeping cholesterol and triglyceride at low levels . Saffron ‘s crocetin unclogs the arteries as well, sending oxygen into the circulatory system, keeping the heart in tip – top condition and improving blood circulation .
The crocus sativus is rich in vitamins B ( especially B1, B2 and B6 ) and C . They are fundamental for the good functioning of the healthy immune system . It has essential oils and phytochemicals as well ; they enforce the immune system and give the body anti – carcinogenic components . Saffron crocetin is like an anti – cancer / anti – tumour agent that inhibits growth of cancer cells and powers up the anti – oxidative system .
Saffron is known for ages to regulate menstrual cycle of women . Drinking tea or milk with a bit of saffron helps to calm the pain and headache related to the monthly period . It can be used to prevent mood swings that usually are before the period . As to pregnant women, a small amount helps in rhythmic contraction of the uterus, in this way reduce pain and difficulty in the delivery of the baby ; but a large amount can be very dangerous because it could cause cramps and seizure in the uterus and bring unwanted abortion . Saffron with olive oil could heal uterus ulcers .
Carotenoids in saffron help delay macular degeneration as a consequence of ageing by enforcing cell membranes . Saffron defends the eyes from radiation, day blindness, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal stress,
conjuctivitis, keratitis and lacrimation .
Japan and Iran are strongly researching the skill of saffron to fight depression . Clinical research gave evidence that essences from crocus petals could be used as treatment against epilepsy and depression, like fluoxetine or Prozac given in 30 mg twice daily to who needs . Moreover, recent studies prove that 30 mg of saffron given twice daily is give benefits like donepezil or Aricept in fighting mild Alzheimer ‘s disease . Saffron has crocin that is actually a neuronal antioxidant strong enough against neurodegenerative ilnesses . As an anti – anxiety medication, research proved that crocin and safranal work as well due to their sleep – inducing and anxiolytic powers . Furthermore, there is shown that crocin gives positive effects with the serotonin – neurotransmitter system, and this seems to be an efficacious treatment for obsessive – compulsive disorder too . Saffron also helps to keep a person ‘s cerebral skills in terms of retention of information and absorption .
Crocus sativus offers many other medicinal uses . Derivatives are helpful in curing or preventing gastrointestinal problems like spleen, clogged liver and flatulence . Saffron works as topical application for headache, anal pain, mouth sores, toothache, insect bites, stomach pains, muscle cramps, and treats open wounds and bruises . Saffron paste work for the hair growth and treat baldness or alopecia .
Saffron may be used as appetite suppressant or stimulant as well . It helps to lose weight because saffron has perspiration – inducing and diuretic skills . A clinical research on the effect of saffron on weight loss says to be very effective . People had to take capsules containing saffron extract at pre – programmed schedules within two months and there were positive results .
By the way, saffron has a very interesting erotic past . Cleopatra soaked herself in saffron baths before romantic meetings . Saffron oil has an exotic flavour that seems to be seductive . Any drink mixed with an amount of saffron turns in an aphrodisiac . Male problems with virility can solved by medications infused with saffron too .
With these numerous uses of saffron, it ’s not a coincidence that production of this particular plant is very spread in Italy, Iran, India, Spain and Afghanistan indeed .
OTHER USES OF SAFFRON
Saffron threads provide a yellow colour when is put in a liquid . Once there is the right colour and concentration, food or whatever is ready to be used . Saffron dye can give colour to fabrics in order to highlight social status and religious functions . The noble people had saffron – dyed articles of clothing . The Irish dyed their wool with saffron colourant . Carthaginian and Phoenician brides wore saffron – dyed veils . The Japanese painted their kimonos with saffron . Tibetan, Buddhist and Hindu monks had saffron – dyed robes .
Noble women and courtesans of the old periods used saffron as skin care and cosmetic . Facial masks with saffron could be applied by women to make their skin smooth, soft and free from pimples and acne . Sandalwood and saffron mixed with milk were used as mask and they made the face soft and very clean . Honey, sugar oil and coconut can be used to create facial masks too . Saffron powder also has exfoliant properties and makes the skin bright and clear . Saffron extract provides with anti – bacterial skills that seem to fight pimples, acne and other skin diseases such as leprosy and psoriasis .
Old stories tell that in specific periods, Egyptians wore wax clothing with flowers and saffron in it which, once mixed, perfumed their hair with the sweet and particular smell ; the Greek god Zeus slept in a bed made of saffron ; Romans perfumed their marital beds with saffron, apparently for erotic reasons and they bathed in tubs full of sprinkled water with saffron threads . In the Middle East, sandalwood and saffron were melted for the production of a relaxing smell that also cured headaches . Modern perfumers take advantage from saffron because it mixes well like middle notes with other substances and essences to become a floral perfumes . And in India, they have a hundred – year old tradition of putting saffron in a special tobacco called zaafrani zarda that perfumed the air with the smell .
However, saffron is good for an extraordinary gift on special occasions like weddings, Ramadan, Christmas and other religious events because it is costly and this means a high status present .
TIPS WHEN YOU PURCHASE SAFFRON
THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND WHEN YOU BUY CROCUS SATIVUS SAFFRON
There could often be fraudolent traders who will play a bad trick on you . The best way not to be mocked is to purchase only from trustworthy dealers . Make a background control . Be inquisitive . Be informed . Be aware of the fundamental features of saffron :
Saffron is costly . Any cost too much lower than the international market price must warn you .
Look for famous brands . Even if they have saffron at low prices, you don’t have to be afraid .
Saffron threads have to be brittle and dry, not sticky and soft .
Saffron has a fresh, piquant scent ; if it’s musty, or smells like other chemical it means that components have been added to it, therefore stay away from purchasing it .
There must be no broken components at the bottom of container .
It is better buy threads rather than powder . It is not easy to spot fake saffron powder unless you are permitted to test the product before the purchase .
Saffron threads have very red color, with a slightly lighter coloured at the topè, more like red – orangey . If saffron is dull red means the batch is old .
Saffron threads have the same size, but not the same colour . Once all the threads have exactly the same redness, they could have been dyed to create the true colour in its inner .
You have to know the different cuts : The highest quality saffron thread, known as coupé saffron, sargol or premium red, has only the very red part of the stigmas, the yellow style is removed before being dried . A kind of cut that has the vivid red stigma and a little or more of the yellow style shows a lower – quality saffron . The style does not provide any aroma . It is considered like floral waste .
The packaging has to show the harvest date, and it has to be recent .
FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question : What are the differences between the various bulb sizes ?
It is that the bigger bulbs will bloom better and will provide with more flowers in the first year after the plantation . Moreover larger bulbs develop better and increase faster than smaller bulbs .
In the first year bulbs of size 7 / 8 will bloom around 30 % ( 30 flowers per 100 bulbs ), bulbs of size 8 / 9 about 80 %, bulbs of size 9 / 10 will bloom 150 %, bulbs of size 10 / 11 will bloom 200 % and bulbs of size 11 / + will bloom 300 % .
The bloom percentage will increase in the following years because of their multiplication and growth .
Question : What is the difference between non – organic and organic bulbs ?
It is that organic corms are largely cultivated organically, without using any chemical plant protection products .
These corms will arrive with an European organic certificate .
The non – organic corms are cultivated in a sustainable way, with a minimum use of chemicals .
Question : Why are the saffron bulbs in your web shop cheaper than in many other shops ?
The crocus Sativus bulbs we sell are grown by ourselves, so you are buying bulbs directly from the grower without the intervention of wholesalers . Since we grow the crocus bulbs on a large scale we can offer them ( much ) cheaper than many other suppliers .
Question : Why can’t you deliver saffron bulbs before July 25 ?
Our saffron bulbs grow every year in late June / early July .
Once they are grew, we dry and wash them and they will have a proper temperature treatment . After this treatment, the bulbs will be sorted in different sizes and they will be ready for our sales .
This entire process requires to be done carefully to ensure our customers the best quality of crocus Sativus bulbs and saffron .
Question : What do ” sustainable ” grown bulbs stand for ?
It means that, during the cultivation of our saffron bulbs, we decrease the use of chemical crop protection to the minimum .
This proved that we stopped using chemical soil treatments, we don’t apply any pesticides containing the neonicotinoids and the herbicide ” Roundup ” is no longer used in our fields .
Furthermore we try to improve and keep the soil quality and soil organisms of our land by using high – quality compost and other soil improver .
Question : Why is it better not to use Round – up ?
Independent scientific studies prove that the herbicide Round – up, and the active ingredient of this product ” glyphosate “, can develop of cancer and probably hormone disrupting . Morevore this herbicide is extremely toxic for the soil in which the bulbs are grown because the soil biology is very disrupted by glyphosate .
Question : What are neonicotinoids ?
Neonicotinoids are types of substances connected to nicotine, which are used in an amount of systemic biocides and pesticides . The use of these elements is connected with several research in the world with increased bee mortality .
Question : When is the optimal time to plant your bulbs ?
The best time to plant our bulbs is around mid – August .
Saffron bulbs planted before the end of August will start to bloom in late October .
Question : What is the price of saffron per kg ?
It is not easy to offer you a price of saffron because it depends on the demand and supply, the place from which it comes from and its quality .
It is often proved that the price of 1 kg of saffron is around € 30,000 . Actually this price applies to the saffron which is provided in small quantities . For example, you can buy saffron in a bag of 50 mg at the supermarket for € 1.25. So 1 kg it makes a total of € 25,000 per kg .
It seems that the quality of the saffron that you can purchase at the supermarket is worse than the more expensive saffron found in drug stores .
Question : How many saffron bulbs can I plant per m 2 ?
The quantity of bulbs that you can plant per m 2 depends on the bulb size .
With bulbs of size 7 / 8 you can plant around 60 to 70 bulbs per m 2, bulbs of size 8 / 9, 50 to 60 bulbs per m 2 and with bulbs of size 9 / 10, 40 to 50 bulbs per m 2.
Question : What does the size of your bulbs mean ?
The size of our bulbs is measured in centimetre of the circumference of the bulbs . For example, bulbs of size 9 / 10 have a circumference between 9 and 10 centimetres .
The diameter of our bulbs can be simply calculated by dividing the circumference of the bulbs by Pi ( Pi ≈ 3,14 ).
So bulbs of size 9 / 10 have a diameter between 9 / 3,14 ≈ 2,86 and 10 / 3,14 ≈ 3,18 centimeters .
Question : Is it profitable to cultivate saffron ?
It is surely profitable to grow your own saffron because the saffron cultivation is a periennal crop . The bulbs you buy from us, increase themselves every year in the ground, and therefore you can harvest your own saffron up to 4 – 5 years in a row in which the harvest multiplies every year . After this period of time you can take the bulbs and replant them again on another piece of land .
In this way you only require to buy bulbs one time in order to harvest saffron for many years .
Translated by Matteo Aristei