Saffron is a small perennial plant with a height of 10 to 30 cm. The plant produces a number of slender, elongated leaves from the center of the onion or stem base. From the middle of the leaves, a flowering stem emerges, leading to one to three flowers.
Saffron flowers have 6 purple petals that may sometimes be pink or purple.
The flowers have 3 flags and a female leading to a reddish-orange stigma. The part used by this plant is the end of the cream and stigma of the three branches, which is known as saffron and is fragrant and slightly bitter.
Saffron or saffron (scientific name: Crocus sativus) is a plant from the genus Lilies, a genus of saffron that is used as a spice in cooking.
Crimson stigma and cream color of saffron flowers are collected and dried and used for seasoning and coloring foods.
Saffron has long been known as the most expensive spice in the world by weight and is priced at around US $ 5,000 per kilogram.
The historical root of this plant is Iran and in the 21st century, Iran produces more than 90% of the world’s saffron.
Iran is the largest exporter of saffron and China is the largest importer of saffron in the world. The global export value of this product is $ 275.84 million. Mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography are professional methods for detecting counterfeit saffron.
What are the ingredients of saffron?
Saffron has 28 volatile organic compounds that are very sensitive to fluctuations in the surface of the saffron and is easily destroyed in the presence of oxidizing agents such as light and air, which is why it must be stored in closed containers and also away from sunlight. Be.
The most important compounds in saffron include yellow compounds that are well soluble in water (crocetin derivatives), bitter compounds such as picrocrocin which are especially stomach tonic, aromatic substances (essential oils) the most important of which is safranal which sometimes makes up to 1% of saffron. The fixed oil is up to 10%, the moisture content is about 1310% and the mineral compounds are about 5%.
The amount of crocin that makes up the color of saffron is higher when it is arranged in a bud.
Saffron planting methods
Different methods are used to cultivate saffron:
• Copy and hole cultivation
• Strip culture
• Saffron heap cultivation
Cultivate copy and hole
In this method, we dig a hole 20 to 25 cm wide and wide with a shovel. At this stage, one person puts 3 to 15 onions inside each hole and the next person covers the onions with a shovel. It flattens the ground, the distance between each hole and the next hole is between 15 to 20 cm in a row and 25 to 30 cm with the side row.
Saffron strip cultivation
This method is done in two ways:
• Conventional strip cultivation with a low density of 3 to 4 tons per hectare
• Ideal cultivation with a density of 8 to 10 tons per hectare
• Conventional strip cultivation with a density of 3 to 4 tons per hectare
In this method, we dig the ground in a groove with a shovel or tractor to a depth of 25 to 30 cm, a few people start picking onions with a distance of 8 to 10 cm from each onion, in the next step with a shovel or The tractor will dig the next furrow and transfer the soil of the new furrow to the furrow in which the saffron onion is placed. The distance between each furrow and the side furrow is 30 to 40 cm. The average harvest in this method from the third year onwards is 12 to 15 kg per hectare.
Ideal cultivation of saffron
This method is exactly similar to conventional strip cultivation with a density of 3 to 4 tons per hectare, with the difference that the distance between the bulbs and the side bulb is 4 to 5 cm and the distance between each groove and the side groove is 20 to 30 cm, in this method The density of onions per unit area is 8 to 10 tons per hectare. The average harvest of saffron in this method from the third year onwards is 20 to 25 kg per hectare.
Suitable climate for saffron cultivation
Saffron is a tropical plant that grows well in temperate climates with hot, dry, sunny summers, and relatively mild autumns and winters, and saffron can be planted in these areas. It should be noted that this may not be true in all circumstances because it is possible that the plant is adapted to the environment if in Hamedan, which is one of the coldest cities in Iran, saffron cultivation and planting has given satisfactory results.
Saffron onion is not active in summer, its waking period and activity is from about November to May, and with the onset of summer, its leaves turn yellow and dry, and the onion falls asleep, so hot and dry lands are a good place to grow saffron.
Land preparation and saffron planting method
The best soil for planting saffron is sandy clay soil with a small amount of lime.
In preparing the land for planting saffron, it is necessary to pay special attention and accuracy. First, in suitable opportunities in autumn or winter, the desired land is plowed deeply if the conditions are not suitable or access to the tractor is not possible.
In mechanized agriculture, saffron is plowed deeply in the autumn of the year before planting with a plow. 40 tons of animal manure and 200 kg of ammonium phosphate are ground into pharaohs and prepared for saffron planting.
Suitable soil for planting and growing saffron
Saffron does not grow in saline, clayey or very sandy soils, but the best type of soil for its growth is sandy-clay soil that has a small amount of lime, soil pH should be between 7-8, fertile and sweet field soil and grass Weeds should be clean, while planting the saffron plant should be in land where saffron has not been grown for several years.
Time of planting saffron
Saffron can be planted from July to September. After planting saffron bulbs in the ground for 4-7 years and in some areas up to 10 years and yields and in this regard there is no need to replant saffron in later years.
Preparation of saffron onion
At this stage, we should look for quality saffron onions to transfer to the soil, onions should be healthy and away from any kind of contamination of mites and fungi. The best time to prepare onions is from early July to late September. We must be very sensitive in choosing onions because the most important and basic issue in saffron cultivation is choosing onions of the year.
After preparing the onion, we should cultivate it as soon as possible, because the onion is exposed to all kinds of pests and diseases when it is in the open air, and the second reason is that if the onion mass is gathered together, it increases the temperature of the onion and These conditions lead to a sharp decrease in onion vigor and an increase in conditions for a variety of diseases. The shorter the distance between the onion and the planting, the better.
Saffron onion planting operation
Saffron planting, saffron plant planting, saffron planting method
To plant saffron onions, first one row of holes are dug with a shovel and 3 to 15 onions are placed inside each hole. Depth of planting saffron onions is considered 15-20 cm and when planting onions, the head should be facing up. Onions at a depth of 20 cm are protected from cold and frost and other environmental stresses in winter and from heat in summer.
4-5 people participate in planting saffron in such a way that one person digs the holes with a shovel and two people choose the cultivable onions in groups of 3 to 5 or 15.
The fourth person puts the onions in the holes and the rest of the people continue their work until the whole saffron field is planted. Finally, level the uneven field with a shovel or trowel that is flat and compact so that the onions stick to the soil. The cultivated land is left in the same way until the autumn irrigation. Before irrigation, about 10-20 tons of completely rotten animal manure is spread on the ground with a shovel. After planting the saffron on the grooves, cover it with a trowel and it looks like a row crop.
Amount and type of saffron onion
Saffron cultivation, saffron cultivation, saffron onion cultivation
The required amount of onion for saffron cultivation is 2 tons of tubers per hectare
Saffron onions must be large, healthy, without wounds, juicy and free of any disease and their age exceeds 7 years and separate the extra skins and clumps of each onion. (The heap is the place of rooting at the bottom of the onion, which is cork and dry.) , Granozal and consumed 500-300 grams of poison for every 100 kg of onions.
The required amount of onion for planting saffron is 2 tons of tubers per hectare. If the tubers are not removed after the seventh year, the plant will weaken and the tubers will become hollow, and after one or two years, they will be completely destroyed. In the seventh year, the amount of tubers that can be removed from the ground is 5 times the amount planted in the first year.
Types of saffron available in the market
Saffron flower, which is the most basic type of saffron, consists of three main parts. After the saffron flower is picked, in the process of cleaning the saffron, these three parts are separated and dried separately. The three main parts of saffron flowers are as follows:
The stigma is the red saffron string that is known in the market as saffron. The flag is a small yellow part in saffron flowers and the petals are the same purple parts that embrace the stigma like a compassionate mother.
Saffron stigma or string saffron
Saffron stigma or string saffron available in the market is packaged in different sizes and sold. Noodle saffron is available in the form of sprayed saffron, saffron powder, saffron liquid and ordinary noodle saffron in the market, and of course, the most trusted type of saffron for the general public is noodle saffron, which is the primary type of saffron produced in saffron farms.
Saffron petals are a part of saffron that has been discarded by farmers until recently due to lack of knowledge about its benefits.
How to use saffron string or stigma?
Buying good quality saffron can have different meanings for us, sometimes we want saffron for use in food and sometimes for drink, sometimes for its aroma and sometimes for its properties, and of course in most cases we want saffron for all these cases.
The properties of saffron are derived from the active substances and compounds in it, and it is these substances and compounds that produce the aroma, taste and properties of saffron. For example, crocin in saffron is the cause of the principle of coloring and some properties of saffron.
If we want to get the maximum amount of saffron color, we have to do something to remove the crocin in saffron and make it soluble. For this purpose, we must brew saffron in such a way that the most amount of crocin is released from it and consequently we have the highest amount of color.
Before brewing saffron, we should grind the saffron strands in a mortar (preferably stone) with some sugar or sugar so that it is finely chopped and during brewing, its active ingredients are easily removed and dissolved so that we can Let’s use it.
There are two ways to make saffron active ingredients soluble. The first way is to use hot water. For this method, just pour some powdered saffron (just as much as you need) in a quarter of a glass of hot water and wait for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Another common way to brew saffron is to use ice cubes. The use of small ice cube trays in saffron brewing leads to a significant increase in the coloring power of saffron. The method is to pour a few pieces of small ice mold on powdered saffron and wait for the ice to melt.
An important point in brewing saffron is that the original saffron colors slowly and in no way should you expect the original saffron to color quickly. If saffron dyes quickly, you should know that a job is missing.
Uses of saffron
After brewing the amount of saffron we need, we can use it. Sometimes saffron is the main ingredient of a food and sometimes it plays the role of a wonderful spice, sometimes it heals and sometimes it shows its beauty. It all depends on your desire and opinion and your expectation from saffron.
How to use saffron petals?
Saffron petals are separated from the flower in the process of cleaning saffron and dried in the next step. The saffron petals, like the saffron stigma, contain beneficial active ingredients that have made it a new medicinal target for the treatment and control of many diseases.
Saffron flower drink
The main use of saffron petals is in two forms: saffron flower tea and saffron flower jam. Saffron flower tea is one of the easiest ways to use saffron petals. How to use it is that we brew some of the dried petals like other herbal teas and sweeten it with candy and eat it.
Saffron flower jam
Saffron is a bitter principle and one of the most important parts of preparing saffron flower jam is getting its bitterness. Catching the bitterness of saffron flowers is that we put some water to boil and then we pour saffron flowers in it until it gets wet and then we throw the water away.
We have to do this two to three times to get rid of the bitterness of saffron flowers and get ready to become a rich and tasty jam. The rest is the same as cooking ordinary jams.
Benefits of saffron
Saffron contains significant amounts of plant compounds that act as antioxidants – molecules that protect your cells against free radicals and oxidative stress. Elements such as crocin and crocetin are carotenoid pigments and are responsible for the red color of saffron. Both compounds have antidepressant properties and protect brain cells from progressive damage, inflammation and loss of appetite, as well as helping to lose weight.
The safranal element gives saffron a distinct flavor, taste and aroma, and its presence can help improve mood, boost memory and increase your learning ability, as well as protect your brain cells from oxidative stress.
Finally, camphor, which is found in the petals of saffron flowers, has benefits such as reducing inflammation, anti-cancer and anti-depressant properties.
In general, saffron is rich in plant compounds that act as antioxidants such as crocin, crocetin, safranal and camper. Antioxidants help protect your cells against oxidative stress.
Weight loss with saffron
Reduces risk factors for heart disease
Saffron can reduce the risk of heart disease. These factors include the antioxidant properties of saffron, which reduces blood cholesterol and prevents blockage of blood vessels and arteries. Saffron also prevents the increase of cholesterol, triglycerides and bad fats in the blood. It is interesting to know that consuming saffron is joyful and helps strengthen the heart system.
Lower blood sugar
According to laboratory studies on mice with diabetes, saffron can lower blood sugar levels and also reduce insulin sensitivity.
Help prevent Alzheimer’s
Saffron plays an important role in improving and strengthening memory in adults with Alzheimer’s disease: The antioxidant properties of saffron can be effective in the prevention and treatment of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Adult vision enhancement with AMD
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD (a medical condition that may result in blurred or loss of vision in the center of vision). Saffron can improve eye problems in adults with AMD and prevent radical damage. Free protects.
Helps reduce appetite and thus weight loss.
Eating too many snacks and snacks is a common habit among people that will most likely expose you to unwanted weight gain. According to research, saffron may help you overeat by reducing and controlling your appetite.
In an eight-week study of women, people who took a saffron supplement were less likely to eat snacks and snacks than those who took medication, and after a while began to lose weight. They weighed.
In another eight-week study, saffron extract supplementation was found to significantly reduce appetite and eliminate body fat accumulation index (BMI) such as waist, abdomen and hips.
However, scientists are not sure how saffron stimulates appetite and weight loss. According to one theory, scientists believe that improving mood and moods reduces appetite and weight loss.
In general, saffron improves mood and reduces appetite, thus reducing the consumption of snacks and snacks, which help to lose weight.
Sexual instincts are enhanced foods or supplements that help boost your libido.
Studies have shown that saffron may have tonic properties to strengthen sexual instincts, especially in people taking antidepressants.
For example, consuming 30 mg of saffron daily for four weeks significantly improved erectile function more than other drugs in men with erectile dysfunction associated with antidepressants.
In addition, research and experiments in six studies have shown that saffron consumption significantly improves erectile function, libido and sexual satisfaction, but it should be noted that this substance does not affect sperm and semen quality.
In women with a lack of libido due to the use of antidepressants, daily consumption of 30 mg of saffron for more than four weeks reduces sexual pain and increases libido and increases secretions.
In general, consuming the right amount of saffron can help boost sexual potency in men and women, especially people taking antidepressants.
It has anti-cancer properties
Saffron has high antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radical damage is associated with chronic diseases such as cancer.
In laboratory studies, saffron and its compounds selectively killed or stopped intestinal cancer cells, while not damaging normal cells.
This effect is also true for cancers of the skin, bone marrow, prostate, lung, breast, cervix and several other cancer cells.
In addition, laboratory studies have shown that crocin – the main antioxidant in saffron – may make cancer cells more sensitive to chemical treatments.
These studies also require further research and testing to be definitively used to treat a variety of cancers.
It can help improve mood and treat depressive symptoms
Saffron is also called “spice of the sun”. This is not only because of its distinctive color but also because it helps to improve your mood.
In one study, studies showed that saffron supplements were more severe than placebo in treating mild to moderate depressive symptoms.
Other studies have shown that consuming 30 mg of saffron daily is as effective as fluoxetine, imipramine and citalopram in treating depression. In addition, people who used saffron experienced fewer side effects compared to other treatments.
As a result, both the petals and the filaments are effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
While these findings are very promising, more studies and experiments are needed before we can offer saffron as a definitive treatment for depression.
In general, saffron may be effective in treating mild to moderate depressive symptoms, but more studies are needed before that.
May reduce the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a term that describes physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms before the onset of menstruation.
Studies show that saffron may help treat the symptoms of PMS.
In women aged 20 to 45 years, daily consumption of 30 mg of saffron is more effective than other drugs in treating PMS symptoms such as irritability, headache, cravings and pain.
Another study showed that just smelling saffron for 20 minutes could reduce the symptoms of PMS, such as anxiety and lower cortisol levels.
This miracle spice is also regularizing and women whose menstruation has been delayed can solve their problem by consuming it.
In general, both eating and smelling saffron can help treat PMS symptoms such as irritability, headache, pain and anxiety.
Excessive consumption of saffron
Saffron itself is not harmful to ordinary people, but if you consume this healing substance, the benefits and properties of which we have described in detail, in large quantities, it is more harmful than what it has benefits and properties. Even if the saffron you bought is genuine, consuming too much of it can have many disadvantages. Note that you should not consume more than five milligrams of saffron per meal. Otherwise, it will have very bad consequences for you, which may even lead to death. Symptoms of excessive consumption of saffron include these symptoms. These include food poisoning, diarrhea, yellowing of the skin, nosebleeds, numbness of the eyelids and lips, jaundice of the eyes, nosebleeds, and yellowing of the mucous membranes. These are the only signs of saffron abuse. The harms of consuming too much saffron to the body are much greater than these issues and cause irreparable damage to various organs of the consumer.
Consume saffron for a long time
It was said that saffron is used to flavor various foods. Some people believe that if used for a long time and in small quantities, ie as a spice, it will not be harmful. But this is not the case and long-term consumption of saffron, like its high consumption, causes the accumulation of its ingredients, which can be very harmful. In particular, weight loss supplements contain saffron. Those who use these substances should be very careful not to use them for too long. This period should be less than six weeks. To use such substances, you must consult with specialist doctors. Be sure to consult with a specialist or your doctor to use substances that contain saffron, such as drugs or supplements that you take for weight loss.
Sensitivity to saffron
A group of people are allergic to some plants. It is not saffron that causes side effects, in fact, it is a person’s sensitivity that causes an abnormal reaction to this substance. Allergy to saffron has symptoms that the consumer should not consume saffron immediately after seeing them. These symptoms include headache, anxiety, confusion, skin allergies, dry lips and mouth, anorexia, upset stomach, nausea, weight loss. Seeing any of these symptoms, you should avoid consuming saffron.