Saffron spice gives a quaint bittersweet aroma, like honey and hay. It tastes as bittersweet as it smells. One has to taste it to know what it really tastes like. Some say “it is mushroomy and smoky”, others say “it tastes like the sea” and some say “it is metallic with honey tones and a whiff of seashells”.
What is Saffron?
Saffron is the name of the spice derived from the Crocus Sativus Linnaeus. which is also known as the saffron crocus and are usually also called saffron bulbs or saffron corms. Saffron is considered to be one of the most expensive spices in the world. So, what makes it worth so much? It comes from the saffron crocus flower and takes as many as 150 000 flowers or 450 000 stigmas to produce one kilogram of spice. It also must be handpicked because it is so delicate. Only the stigmas of the flower are used as the spice. Saffron has a very distinct, bold flavour which makes it popular in many food dishes across many different cultures.
Grading of Stigmas
Mainly Saffron threads are graded in 4 type.
Grade 1 or A+
Grade 2 or A
Grade 3 or B
Grade 4 or C
1. Negin or super Negin
Although Sargol (means top part of a flower) is considered as the premium saffron, there is another variation of Sargol Saffron. If three stigma threads are attached together this type of saffron is called Negin. Since production of Negin saffron is an extremely delicate and precise manual skill, it is the most expensive type of saffron and very limited to offer.
ISO reading of Negin is usually more than 270.
This grade consists of ONLY dark red stigma tips and has the highest quality compared to the other types. Sargol Saffron is the pure saffron with no broken strand.
ISO reading of Sargol 260-270.
Pushal saffron is the stigma's orange part of the plant attached to a 1-3 mm style end.
ISO reading of Pushal up to 250
4. Dokhtar or Bunch
This grade is relatively low strength grade, and consists of red stigmas plus large amount of yellow style, presented in a tiny bundle.
ISO reading of Dokhtar is 70 to 75