The Different Saffron Flower Organs
Saffron, also known as Crocus Sativus, comes from the Iridaceae family. It is a perennial, herbaceous and bulbous plant but without any stem. Saffron bulb and corm is meaty and has a spherical shape and brown color. Every saffron corm produces 6-9 thin leaves like those of the lawn grasses.
The roots of saffron are of fibrous kind, which grows through the corm’s base. Saffron flower is the very first organ, which occurs in the early fall. In the first year of cultivation, because of the saffron bulb’s lack of complete deployment and weakness in deep soil farming, flower sprouts can’t grow completely. Even 1st-year saffron leaves occur later than the usual.
Saffron flower has 3 petals and 3 sepals both with the same purple color. Thus, it is very difficult to differentiate them from each other. The stamens are 3x and their length are twice the anther’s size. The saffron’s anther has a bright yellow color.
Pistil is situated in the center of the saffron flower with only 1 ovary from which a thin style emerge s. The style is a long and stretched kind in yellow color, which ends to a translucent 3-branch red-orange stigma by the size of 2-3 centimeters. 3 stigmas together with the style, after dying make up the saffron.
Sargol saffron or SarGhalam and in the Persian standard term, Cut Cluster, are just a few names which rose in popularity later on. Those new saffron names were produced from bunched saffron. The process of saffron’s production is the following:
Its yellow parts are separated using a scissor and static electricity is applied later on. Then, the red-colored saffron or all-red is obtained. Next, the red part of the saffron is separated from the flower to produce saffron called Poushali. With the coordination made in this process, it was perceived that this is a not suitable name, so an appropriate one must be chosen for this saffron type. In accordance this kind of saffron is known as Cluster saffron.
Every type of the abovementioned saffron may be of 1st, 2nd grade or low quality type.
None of the abovementioned types of saffron can be opted to one another. It is apparent that coloring power, tinting and saffron quality called Dasteh is lower than other types of saffron to some degree. Since this saffron type is dried with setback and loses some of its coloring ability in the long run of the process of drying, it has a low quality.
Unlike the studies made regarding this and sin accordance with the performed analysis, there are people who believe that konch saffron and bunched saffron type is more aromatic. The origin of the 3 important elements of saffron such as safranal, picrocrocin and crocin are in its stigma. The yellow konch does not just enjoy a significant amount of them, as compared to stigma, but also crocin. Since there is a tendency of more humidity absorption from stigma in terms of the kind of its herbal tissue, it seems to be more aromatic than other kinds of saffron.
If the Sargol saffron will be separated from bunched saffron, the white or root part known as white saffron in Persian or konch and style or white in Europe will also be separated. In fact, the part that is separated cannot be referred to as saffron. This part is called saffron konch and is not defined the way saffron is.
Cultivating and Harvesting Saffron:
Saffron is a pant which reproduction and accumulation is made via the corm. After preliminary cultivation and planting of the saffron seed, saffron is produced for a period of 7-10 years automatically. The stage of saffron’s cultivation is done at the first year. In the succeeding years, only stages of caring and harvesting are made. Saffron greatly requires a lush soil, normally gravel and sandy and an animal manure (2-3 weeks before planting 25-30 tons for every hectare land area).
Saffron reproduction is made through the establishment of new corms which are produced by the mother corm. The corms remain stagnant and inactive at summer months and begin re-growing at the last part of the summer season. In accordance with reports, several types of saffron are grown in different countries around the world.
Saffron flower is commonly harvested in the mid-fall season. The usual method of harvesting saffron flower is made with the help of bare hands.
After the first irrigation, young saffrons already start growing flowers occur at the end of October, until the beginning of November. As soon as the first flowers appear, people start harvesting them. The time of harvest pivots on farming and environmental conditions. The process of saffron harvesting on a saffron farm will last 20-30 days.
Saffron is the plant, which reproduction and accumulation is made through the corms.
The Process of Saffron’s Forwarding and Transportation:
- The process of transporting saffron must be done in such a way that protects flowers from any environmental contaminations and mechanical damages.
- Accumulation and compression of saffron flowers all at the same time must be avoided.
- Containers used in transporting the saffron flowers must be placed on each other properly to prevent the flowers from being mechanically damaged.
- If the transportation time of the saffron flowers is lengthened, utilize the right coverage on them to give them protection against contamination and sunlight.
One of the most effective ways in improving the quality of the saffron is accelerated separation. The refrigerator’s temperature must be the most suitable temperature in keeping the stigmas at the period of separation until the drying process.
Freshly harvested saffron must be dried in order to preserve it for a much longer time. The method of drying will determine the saffron’s quality and final value. A unique and invigorating saffron fragrance is produced at the period of drying operation as a result of the hydrolization of the saffron compounds such as safranal and picrocrosin.
In the traditional Persian method, saffron is placed on the shade and/or dry and warm room for an approximate period of 8-12 days. In this kind of method, there is a high tendency of microorganism growth, contamination and tinting reduction as a result of the enzymes’ activity due to the long time required in drying saffron.
In the Spanish method, saffron is placed on a strainer with a clean silk netted with the average temperature of approximately 50-60 degree Celsius for 30-60 minutes. In this method, the saffron will have more color strength as compared to the traditional Persian method or drying at the open-air space. Moreover, the possibility of fungus contamination is reduced to a great degree in this method.
Saffron hits the market in various forms:
- Saffron known as “Sargol”
- Saffron known as “Dasteh”
- Saffron known as “Poushali”
- Saffron powder
Method of Keeping Saffron:
After drying and cooling method, saffron is placed in the right containers. It may be packed in 3-layer aluminum packs, polyethylene canisters, polyethylene packets and glass containers.
When the saffron has already been packed, it must be placed inside pasteboards to be compressed. The saffron must also be placed inside metal or wooden crates at the period of transporting it.