Saffron is slowly becoming one of the most popular spices around the world. Many people believe that majority of the worldʼs saffron comes from Spain, the fact is that Iran is the largest distributor of saffron. Iran exports more than 100 tons of Iranian saffron every year.
Iranian saffron or Persian saffron as Iranian people called " Zaferan" , was cultivated over three millennia ago. There are records of farmers that have cultivated and harvested this plant and its flowers all over Iran but most of them were living in the famous Khorasan region in northeastern Iran.
The other thing that makes Iranian saffron special is the distinctive color with a very rich red color. This natural color comes as a result of the specific drying process used in Iran. The process of dying which was practiced for hundreds of years in this region has an effect on the aroma of the spice. For those who didn’t know, Iranian saffron has a very pronounced aroma, when the saffron is lower quality you canʼt expect a noticeable aroma or flavor.
History of saffron
Cultivation and use of saffron spans more than 3500 years. It has been traded and used across continents and even utilized as a treatment for over 90 disorders. Ancient Greek legends speak of soldiers embarking on perilous voyages to procure what was thought to be the most valuable saffron. Cleopatra, as per certain texts, used saffron in her baths for its cosmetic properties Egyptian healers used this spice for treating gastrointestinal aliments and the Romans used it as a deodorizer.
The most popular spice, which offers everything nice, that’s saffron but not all us are aware of saffron benefits.
Benefits of saffron
Saffron is a wonderful treatment for colds and coughs, stomach issues, uterine bleeding, insomnia, flatulence and even heart trouble and asthma.
Saffron is extremely rich in manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar and aids the formation of bones, tissues and sex hormones. It also contains vitamin C that fights infections and aids iron absorption.
Saffron Benefits for skin
The antifungal content of saffron makes it effective for the treatment of acne, blemishes and blackheads. Saffron can stimulate blood circulation by providing oxygen to skin. Moreover, saffron can improve skin texture and heals wounds and scars.
Saffron benefits for hair
The antioxidants in saffron can help prevent hair loss. The spice repairs hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
In Iran, we have lots of saffron recipes for food and drinks. Its golden yellow color and slightly floral taste can be found in a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. We have saffron rice, some stew that use saffron, saffron pastry and cookies and saffron ice cream , …
Saffron has been used in a variety of different drinks, such as honey-saffron-ginger mix, saffron sugar syrup. It can be added to different herbal teas to bring joy and happiness due to inherent. Smell of saffron drinks can entirely change a stressful mood to a relaxing.
Here are some special saffron recipes:
1 – Panj Loz
Panj Loz is literally translated (from farsi to English ) to " Five Diamonds " is a famous Yazd cookie. Loving and delicious cookie made with egg yolk, baking powder, salt, rose water, sugar, pistachio, almond, honey and saffron.
2 – Saffron ice cream
Saffron ice cream that famous dessert from Shiraz that called " Bastani Sonati " ( traditional ice cream) made with saffron and cream then decorate with pistachio.
3 – Tahchin ( Saffron Cake )
Tahchin also known as Persian Baked Rice Cake, is an Iranian rice cake primarily consisting of rice, yogurt, saffron. Some versions of the dish are more elaborate, folding in chicken, vegetables, fish or red meat. Tahchin is originally for Shiraz.
At the end, saffron has a lots of benefits. Saffron health benefits includes promoting mental health, helping prevent macular degeneration, enchanting the skin, preventing hair loss, supporting respiratory health, increasing sexual activity, relieving pain, supporting hormone system, heart health, promoting good digestion and good for optimal cell function. On the other hand, saffron has a special place in Iranian table. In most of the Iranian foods you can find it, also just its use for color and aroma or decorating their rice or desserts.
Sum it up, because of all these factors, this expensive spice is named as a " Red Gold "
You can find and buy this red gold in any bazaar in Iran. The popular saffron is from Ghaenat, in south Khorasan province that is also called saffron city. you can order delicious saffron foods and drinks in any restaurants and coffee shops too.