Differences between Spanish saffron and Iranian saffron

Differences between Spanish saffron and Iranian saffron


It can be very obvious , the main difference between Spanish and Iranian saffron is the origin , the place from which it comes is very important since in each saffron-producing geographical area different ways and means of obtaining the spice, and each change in the processes makes the resulting quality of the spice very different when comparing some samples with others.

saffron production


The differences are noticeable, above all, in a chemical analysis of the spice where the organoleptic qualities or the Crocina (coloring component), the Picocrocin (flavor component) and Safranal (aromatic component) are very different depending on where they come from saffron. There are also other parameters to be taken into account, although they are more technical such as humidity or total ashes .


Visually there are also differences that can be observed if the product is analyzed carefully and knowing exactly what to value. On your left you will see a colored image of Spanish saffron

strands Espagne

Currently there are many countries where saffron is produced, in terms of production it highlights Iran as the largest producer in the world with more than 90% of the world production, in a second step would be Spain with Aragon and Castilla La Mancha as main production areas, Morocco, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Italy and Greece, in the third step there would be countries where saffron is produced in a testimonial way like Switzerland, France, Argentina or some small area of ​​the USA. In this post we will focus on two producing areas, Iran, which is the country that produces the most saffron worldwide and Spain, where saffron is produced with the best quality in the world. The differences are as follows:



In Spain the cost of production is much higher than in Iran, for several reasons, in Spain the production comes from family farms and through traditional and artisan cultivation, for the tasks related to the azafranal a tractor and rigs are used that cost money and the hours of work of the collectors and debris they are suitable for decent work . On your right you can see a color image of the Iranian saffron

strans from Iran In Iran there are different production modes, there are farmers who have a small plot dedicated to cultivation, the means are very rudimentary and the flower they collect is sold in markets dedicated to this purpose, what they get for the flowers is laughable but it is such the level of poverty in which they live which is the only means that provides them something to survive, packagers who buy the flower and take advantage of the ungrateful effort of the farmer work margins very high can offer a low price in the market and the treatment of the flower is very inadequate because the conditions of conservation of the flower, until the saffron is roasted are not at all adequate obtaining a final product of medium-low quality. p>

There are also large farms where the flower is obtained practically without cos therefore the labor of collectors has a very low remuneration, the same goes for debrisers, the pay they get is miserable, these low salaries make saffron much cheaper to obtain than in countries where these habits would be taken into account as working exploitation


The best quality of saffron is always found in a new saffron of the natural year after harvest, worked in an artisanal way and with an adequate process of dehydration.

In Spain there is a great awareness of obtaining a saffron high quality for two reasons, the first is that it is known that if you get a saffron and low quality there is another in the market and cheaper, so it would be like losing the saffron as it could not be sold , the second is the family's artisan conscience, as all processes are carried out in the family environment from the conservation of the flower to the roasting process, the maximum care is put in that all the processed artisan is in the best conditions and every day to have the best saffron as a result.

In Iran , mainly due to the large amount of saffron that occurs, the processes no can be so controlled , the flower is much more manipulated and moved until it is cleaned, this factor is the first one that affects the quality of the saffron, since the flower is not very fresh the process cleaning also becomes more complicated and saffron briznes are touched more than necessary and finally the roasting process, this is the most delicate and having such amount of spice the processes are industrial and the toasting does not become uniform, the resulting saffron is darker and therefore has a lower coloring power, sometimes the saffron is left to toast in the sun , this is one of the worst ways to dry out the spice because the resulting saffron does not have a good potency is its three main factors (color, flavor and aroma)


- The Spanish saffron has the cup of the brin wider and thicker body, normally the three briznes are united by a white part (corner), that part is not saffron but it is a clear clue that it is Spanish saffron because it is the flower cleaned a hand to have this type of obtaining, the color of the saffron is red , the newer the saffron the more intense the color is

- The Iranian saffron has both the brier cup and the body narrower and finer than the Spanish, it is usually saffron (coupe) without white parts and with loose brines due to a job of mechanical production, the color of the saffron is dark red and without intensity , this is due to drying by the sun or being dehydrated in large quantities and by ovens , in this case parts are more toasted than others and the saffron that is not well roasted tends to darken more than necessary, if the saffron is dark is a sign that the crocin (power coloring) will be low.