According to Greek mythology about saffron, handsome mortal Crocos of saffron fell in love with the beautiful nymph Smilax. But alas, his favors were rebuffed by Smilax, and he was turned into a beautiful purple crocus flower.
Iran accounts for nearly 94% of the world´s production, with the vast majority of it being produced in the southern regions of the country. According to other historical articles saffron was brought to India by the Persian ( Iranian ) rulers around 500 BC. The Persian rulers transplanted the Iranian saffron flower or crocus corms to the Kashmiri soils, once they conquered Kashmir. According to ancient Chinese historical account an Arhant Indian Buddhist missionary named Madhyantika (or Majjhantika) sowed Kashmir`s first saffron crop when he was sent to Kashmir in the 5th century BC. Saffron cultivation and its uses are believed to spread through the Indian subcontinent from Kashmir. The huge popularity of saffron during that time made it the official colour for Buddhist robes and mantles, immediately after the death of Lord Buddha.
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In Iran , the world's leading producer, the erstwhile and northeasterly Khorasan Province that in 2004 was divided in three separate province , grows 95 percent of Iranian saffron: the hinterlands of Birjand city , Ghaen ( ghayen ) , Ferdows in South Khorasan Province, along with areas abutting Gonabad and Torbat-e Heydarieh in Razavi Khorasan Province, are its key cropping areas. Afghanistan has resumed cultivation in recent years; in restive Kashmir it has waned. Despite numerous cultivation efforts in such countries as Austria, England, Germany, and Switzerland, only select locales continue the harvest in northern and central Europe. Among these is the small Swiss village of Mund, in the Valais canton, whose annual saffron output amounts to several kilograms. Microscale cultivation occurs in Tasmania, China, Egypt, France, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey (especially Safranbolu), California, and Central Africa.
Saffron, with its sweet smell reminiscent of honeyed hay, and glorious golden color, has long been prized throughout history as a delicious spice and a valuable golden-yellow food dye. Produced from a beautiful purple crocus, the parts used to make both spice and dye are the stigma and styles, tiny protrusions from the heart of the flower. So small are these parts that it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 flowers to produce one pound of the dried spice, making it no surprise that it is said to be worth its weight in gold! High quality saffron is saffron which has a decent coloring capabilities (completely red ) ,and has a pleasant aroma. Originating in Southwest Asia, it is now cultivated in large amounts in Iran, Spain, India, Greece, Azerbaijan, Morocco, and Italy. Small cultivations are found throughout the world and can be seen in specialty markets, but these seven countries are the world´s largest producers of commercial saffron
You need to be very cautious in purchasing saffron in order to get the pure Persian variety. In order to have an informed buying decision, consider the latest figures on global saffron production: Italian Saffron – 1MT per year or less, Spanish Saffron – 2MT per year or less, Kashmir Saffron –3 MT per year, Moroccan Saffron 4 MT per year, Greek Saffron 6 MT per year, and Iranian Saffron 230 MT per