Iran is the largest exporter of saffron in the world. Because of the climate that is especially favorable for growing saffron in certain parts of Iran, Iranian saffron is of excellent quality, enjoys a high level of acceptability in the Middle East and many other countries, and is known and offered in world markets under the names of Persia Saffron, Persian Saffron, and Iranian Saffron.
Introducing Iranian saffron (Persian Saffron)
Saffron cultivation in Iran (especially in Khorasan) dates back to 3000 years ago. Saffron is a stemless perennial plant with bulbs and, since it is grown in the desert, they call it “the red gold” or “the desert gold.” One gram of dried saffron is obtained from every 150 saffron flowers. Due to its excellent flavor, color, and fragrance, saffron has numerous applications in the production of food and pharmaceutical and chemical materials; and because of the limitations in its cultivation and production, it is an expensive product. Iran, with an average annual production of 200 tons, is the leading saffron producer in the world, Spain with a mean yearly production of 25 tons is second, and India, Russia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, China, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, and Greece, each with an average yearly production of 25 tons, are collectively third.
The main center for cultivating the best Iranian Saffron (Persian Saffron) is the desert region of southern Khorasan, which has a 700-year history of saffron cultivation and is faced with water shortage. Saffron is one of the few plants that can grow under harsh conditions. As historically Iran has been the center of saffron production, and since saffron cultivation has its origin in Iran, Iranian saffron (Persian Saffron) is one of the special souvenirs of this country.
Saffronis a medicinal and industrial plant.
Saffron flower, the stigma or red part of which is also called Sar Risheh (root head) in Persian, is bright red at harvest but gradually turns deep red. Fresh saffron imparts a very pleasing and special flavor and fragrance to food.
Saffron requires only two irrigations, one in November (before the harvest) and the other in December (at the end of the harvest period), and rain and snow satisfy its water needs until spring.