Saffron is one of the most precious spices in the world, retailing for around and exceeding north of $500 an ounce. It is so expensive because it is an extremely labor-intensive crop. Crocus sativa, or the saffron crocus, flowers in the fall. Each flower has three tiny, threadlike stigmas in the center.
TYPES OF SAFFRON
'Mongra' or 'Lacha' Saffron:
This type of Saffron is cultivated only on Kashmiri soil. It is recognized by its dark crimson red threads and is the darkest of all Saffron types cultivated across the globe. This variety of Saffron is considered to be the best saffron in the world due to its strong flavor, aroma and coloring agent. Kashmiri Saffron is rarely found outside India and is also very expensive.
Cultivated at the Navelli Valley and Sardinia area of Italy, is the Iranian Saffron called 'Aquilla'. Iran accounts for the largest Saffron production in world. Iranian Saffron flower plants are little shorter than Kashmiri Saffron plant and thus length of the thread is also shorter. Color of Iranian saffron is lighter red than that of Kashmiri saffron. However, quality of this saffron is regarded high by the consumers. Owing to its bulk production and export, this variety of saffron is abundantly available in markets around the world. Price of Iranian saffron is less than Kashmiri saffron.
'Spanish Superior' and 'Crème' Saffron:
Spanish saffron is lower in quality to Kashmiri Saffron and Iranian Saffron. This kind of saffron is mostly commonly used in USA and other countries. This variety of saffron contains more yellow parts from the style of the plant and higher floral waste thereby making it is less expensive and effective than other varieties of saffron.