The History of Saffron
The Cultivation and usage of saffron in Iran dates back to 3000 years ago. The Persian saffron which is also called " The red gold" grows in desert regions so that it is called the " The Gold of Kavir" as well. Persian saffron is globally known for its incomparable quality, fascinating fragrance, pleasant flavor, and superb coloring strength.
Iranians exported the Saffron to many parts of the ancient world and they also introduced its prpperties to Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Semiotic people including Arabs. The farming practices and paterns of this plant were also inteoduced to the Islamic nations living in Mediterranean areas during the first four decades after Hijrah.
The key cropping areas of saffron
Having 75000 hectares of saffron fields, Iran covers about 90 to 93 percent of the world's 300 tons of saffron production annually. Much of the Iraninan crop is bound for export. 100 to 130 tons of saffron is cultivated in Torbat-e Heydarieh region which includes cities like Torbat-e Heydarieh, Zaveh, Roshtkhar and Mahvlat. Torbat-e Heydarieh which is located in the southern part of Khorasan Razavi province has the first rank in the world for producing saffron.
Saffron is a natural spice derived from the flower of crocus sativus and is also known as the " Red Gold". Saffron is the world's costliest spice. saffron with its unique characteristics has been used by different nations for different purposes such as spice, a coloring agent and a perfume. During almost four millenia saffron has had the largest number of applications among all medicinal plants and has been used in the treatment of 99 medical indications.
The botany and composition of saffron
In scientific terminology, saffron is reffered to as crocus sativus from Iridaceae species. It's a plant with 10-30 cm height which grows from bulbs with 5 cm diameter. The flower is purple in color and quite fragrant which blooms between october til november. Its deep lavender purple - veined flower house long scarlet stigmas (the pollen - receptive portions of the female pistils) that can be plucked and dried to make the highly prized spice saffron.