Types of Persian Saffron Explained

types of saffron

different types of saffron

Quality of Persian Saffron

Persian Saffron has a history nearly long as the existence of saffron crocus itself and Iran’s crowned as the biggest producer of the highest-quality saffron in the world. As the most expensive spice in the world, saffron is mainly cultivated in Iran, Spain, Afghanistan and Greece. It’s worth to know that Iran holds the first place in production, quality and annual export share in the world. Different types of saffron have been identified through time meanwhile used as an herbal cure and remedy for more than 90 kinds of diseases for the past 4 millennia. In the second place, nowadays it is mostly popular for its exotic aroma, bitter yet pleasant taste and golden color as a spice.

ISO

 

What is I.S.O. 3632?

The International Organization for Standardization abbreviated to I.S.O. is a federation of national standards bodies. I.S.O. 3632 which is responsible for saffron grading sets some standards that are exclusively for saffron. According to I.S.O. 3632, there are 3 categories; I as the highest quality saffron, II and III as the lowest quality saffron. Yet there are two other categories which are the least favorable, Category Iv and V since they have some amount of style and yellowish parts. The technicians assign the categories by gauging the samples’ crocin and picrocrocin content. It’s a little different about safranal for it’s not a threshold level for the categories. At the end of the quality test, the samples must give a reading of 20–50 for all categories.

Types of Persian Saffron 

Persian saffron known also as Iranian saffron has 3 major classifications; Sargol, Negin, and Pushal plus parts with less quality including Khooshe (Bunch) and Konj. The quality of saffron threads depends on the positions at which they are pinched off. Each length of saffron stigma has its own name, characteristics and uses.

Types and grades of Persian saffron

Generally speaking, Sargol is the red tips of the Persian saffron stigmas and the strongest grade. Then, we have Negin and sometimes Super Negin which is the red stigmas with no style. Third, Pushal is the red stigma plus some yellow style which has a lesser color and aroma strength. Fourth, Bunch/Khooshe is the whole length of the Persian saffron stigmas including the full length of style which is collected like a small bundle. At last, it is time for Konj which is just the yellow style with minimum aroma and next-to-zero color strength.

Sargol Saffron

First category, Sargol saffron is the very tip of the Persian saffron stigmas which literary means ” the top of flower”. The deep red color and short length of detached stigmas with no orangish or yellow part are the true signs of Sargol. Picking the Sargol needs much more time and attention because of the delicate nature of the stigmas and also going for only the tips. Professional picking, drying and packaging leaves nowhere to complain about the coloring strength, strong taste and wonderful aroma.

sargol saffron

With the I.S.O. reading of 260-270, Sargol is the highest-quality saffron among the Persian saffron grades. Sargol coloring concentration and aroma is super strong and distinguishable because of its active components which gives it a 3-times stronger color concentration.

Features

Sargol Average

Safranal

≃ 50
Crocin

> 270

Picrocrocin

≃ 95

 

Super Negin Saffron

Super Negin Saffron

ُSecondly, Super Negin – a kind of Sargol saffron – is the most expensive and rare trim of Persian saffron stigma because it is not only the most potent but also it has aesthetically agreeable features. Super Negin threads have longer length with no yellow/orangish parts. This is why their threads are symmetrically separated and have no crumbs. Super Negin and Sargol are both desired for their pure crimson red and amazing aroma that they have. Still, Sargol is mostly desired type of Persian saffron because it is the tip of the stigmas with the most concentration of color. Secondly, Super Negin has longer threads which are cut right before the orangish style start. The I.S.O. standard 3632-2 reading of Super Negin saffron is 260-270.

Negin Saffron

Negin saffron, literally meaning “the diamond on a ring” in Persian, has the full length of the three red stigma which are all attached together with a little bit of orange style. Totally, Negin is 1.5 cm long and doesn’t contain any pollen or long style so it’s one of the highest-quality Persian saffron types with great coloring power. To put it simply, Negin saffron has the same quality and color concentration but you are paying for some yellow parts too which worth less.

NeginSaffron-Persian-saffron

Sargol is considered as the premium Persian saffron yet, Negin saffron is desired mostly for its fragrance and luxury appearance. Negin saffron is merchandised dried and kept under 8.2% moisture since it’s very sensitive to damp. The dried stigmas of Negin saffron are red, elongated, oval, and stick and the most expensive type of Persian saffron. Similar to Sargol, Negin also needs an extremely careful and delicate picking skill. That’s why Negin is the most expensive type of saffron and very limited to offer.

Features

Negin Average

Safranal

≃ 50

Crocin

250-260

Picrocrocin

≃ 95

Pushal saffron-Persian saffron

Pushal Saffron

Third, Pushal is another type of Persian saffron and contains the whole length of the red stigmas attached to a 1-3 mm style end. Commonly, Pushal is the cheapest type of Persian saffron available in the market for whom aren’t really concerned about the pure aroma and taste of saffron. Yet, it’s worth to mention that Pushal has a I.S.O. standard 3632-2 reading of 170- 240 so it’s not that worthless. Undoubtedly, Pushal can’t compete against Sargol on pure texture and premium quality, yet there are consumers who prefer to purchase Iranian Pushal for validity check or other uses.

Features

Pushal Average

Safranal

≃ 50
Crocin

170-240

Picrocrocin

≃ 85

bunch saffron-persian types

Bunch/Khooshe Saffron

Fourth grade of Persian saffron has relatively low coloring and aromatic strength grades. It is because Bunch contains all the 3 red stigmas a long with large amount of yellow style, all wrapped in shape of a tiny bundle. This shape of presenting saffron makes the red pure parts of saffron stigmas to share their taste, color and aroma with the less-quality parts of saffron. It’s quite understandable that’s what makes the I.S.O. reading to fall far below.

Features

Pushal Average

Safranal

≃ 40

Crocin

120-190

Picrocrocin

≃ 75

konj saffron-persian saffron

Konj Saffron

At last, Konj saffron is the lowest-quality grade which consists of just the yellowish and white styles. These are the parts which have very little aroma and less than 80 coloring power, yet they have their own market.

Saffron Powder

To wrap the Persian saffron types, we should tell you that saffron powder doesn’t fall into any of the categories above. Actually, Saffron powder is a mixture of grinded Sargol, Pushal and Bunch parts which is presented in economic markets. Obviously, the coloring capacity, aroma strength and flavor power are less than any pure types of Persian saffron such as Sargol. Still, bear in mind that all the processes of drying, grinding, weighing and packaging use superior technology to avoid loss of quality capacity. Be careful that powdered saffron leaves the door open for mixing less quality saffron, artificial dye and turmeric.

types of persian saffron

The useful point of knowing the I.S.O. standard 3632 is that you’ll know exactly what you are buying and how much quality it has. There’s no need to emphasize that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and that’s what makes a great target to fraud. In short, Persian Saffron has always been high quality as long as you find the right distributor(s) who can provide you with authentic test reports upon your order. Iran will continue to hold the crown of High-Quality Saffron for it’s the genuine home of Red Gold with the right features such as climate, soil and non-chemical cultivation and harvesting processes. Village saffron sales department is there for all of your questions and demands.

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