Saffron, also called ‘red gold’, has a very pleasant aroma and flavor. That is why it is one of the most expensive spices in the world. Its price can reach upto $1,200 to 1,800 USD per kilo, and it takes about 250,000 flowers to produce just one kilogram of pure saffron.
However, which country is the saffron market leader?
Iran is the world’s largest producer and exporter of saffron, followed by Afghanistan, India, Spain, Morocco, and Greece.
Even so, the Afghan saffron industry has grown and is gaining a place due to its good quality in a market dominated by Iran, which produces large percent of all saffron in the world.
Afghanistan produces almost twelve tons of saffron every year, a figure eclipsed by more than 100 tons produced by Iran; however, Afghans continue to fight to reach their Iranian neighbors.
The World Bank estimates that more than 6,000 peasants in Herat are already saffron producers.
“There is a great demand for Afghan saffron,” said Bashir Ahmad Rashidi, leader of the Ariana Saffron Company, which exports to countries all over the world, from France and Turkey, to India and the United States.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, it is used to season and color different dishes of the cuisine of southern Europe and Asia, its price ranges from 1,200 to 1,800 dollars per kilo.
In Herat, some 6,000 people, two thirds of them women, are currently working in saffron fields, whose production is exported to India, Europe, the United States and China.
“This year saffron production in Herat has reached twelve tons,” the head of the province’s Agriculture Directorate, Abdul Saboor Rahmani, told Efe, who highlighted the increase compared to last year, when eight tons were harvested.
In addition, the cultivated land has grown this 2018 up to 6,000 hectares, compared to 5,040 last year.
Moreover, in 2017 about 9,000 farmers participated in the production of the precious spice in this province, a figure that this year will rise to at least 10,000 people.
Among the factors that have helped the development of this industry, the high-ranking officer highlighted the programs for the training and recruitment of new farmers and the technical support for those engaged in the cultivation of the flower of saffron by the Ministry of Agriculture.
So far, the department has trained about five hundred farmers in this field.
This spice, derived from the dry stigmas of the pistil of the Crocus sativus flower, is used as an indispensable condiment of the paellas; it is also used in the preparation of rice, meat and seafood. In addition, it has applications in medicine.
The saffron (Crocus Sativus L.), belonging to the family of the Iridaceae, is a bulbous plant developed from an underground corm from which elongated and accented leaves are born and the well-known flowers, the rose of saffron, with six pink petals, three stamens and a stigma divided into three filiform lobes (saffron).
To obtain one gram of this spice, about 140 roses are needed. In addition, its collection is manual. The same as its manipulation, which justifies its high price. The counterpart, enough saffron strands to flavor and give a beautiful yellow color to our dishes.
Its coloring power and its aroma have made it famous.
How to recognize the true “Saffron”?
- Verify that each strand is frayed at one end.
- The color intensity of ‘red gold’ is the main indicator of its quality.
- Notice that they have a deep red hue and that when immersed; the watercolor becomes an orange-yellow.
- You have to smell the strands and put them on your tongue. The fake saffron has very little aroma and flavor.
- The real saffron’s flower should smell a little fructa.
- Finally, it must have a sweet and bitter taste at the same time.