"Saffron War" 800 lb saffron hijacked by nobles.

From $500 to
$5,000 per lb
Crocus Sativus
Thrives where hot and dry
summer breezes sweep semi-arid
Survive cold winters, as low
as −10 °C and short periods of
snow cover.
Grow best in full sunlight.
The Plains of La Mancha
Generous spring rains and drier
summers are optimal.
Rain immediately preceding
flowering boosts saffron yields
Rainy or cold weather during
flowering promotes disease and
reduces yields.
• Dormant through summer
• Buds early autumn.
Mid-autumn flowering.
Harvests are by necessity a
speedy affair: after blossoming
at dawn, flowers quickly wilt
as the day passes.
Plants bloom within a window
of 1 or 2 weeks.
Labour intensive and back breaking work
40 hours labour to pick
150,000 flowers.
50,000–75,000 flowers = 1 lb dry saffron
the equivalent of a football pitch
Saffron contains more than 150 volatile
and aroma-yielding compounds
Documentation over 4,000 years used to treat some 90 illnesses
Remedies, Magical Potions, Dyes,
Perfumes, Body washes, Potpourris,
Mascaras, Ointments, Woven in Textiles,
Divine offerings, and Medical treatments.
• Cancer-Suppressing
• Mutation-Preventing
• Stimulates The Immune System
• Antioxidant-Like Properties.
• Helpful For Depression.
• Protect Eyes From Bright Light & Retinal
• Slows Down Macular Degeneration
• For Wounds, Cough, Colic, And Scabies
From 14th century, Spain exported
the BEST quality saffron in the
In the past, cultivated over a
remarkably large surface area.
1970,s = world´s largest producer
6000 hectares.
Total acreage under cultivation
has since decreased to less than
100 hectares.
In spite of the rapid decline,
a few hundred Spanish farmers
passionately sustain this labour
intensive cottage industry.
Cleopatra used saffron in
her baths so that
lovemaking would be
more pleasurable.
Alexander the Great used
Persian saffron in his
infusions, rice, and baths as
a curative for battle wounds
Buddhist monks wear saffron-coloured robes;
however, the robes are not dyed with
costly saffron but turmeric
European cultivation plummeted
after Roman Empire
Spread of Islam reintroduced
the crop to Spain and Italy.
The 14th C Black Death caused
demand to peak.
Large quantities imported on Venetian &
Genoan ships from southern Med
13th C trade: subject to mass piracy.
Mediterranean Pirates would ignore
gold & Jewellery and instead steal
saffron bound
for Europe.
The 14 week "Saffron War"
800 lb saffron hijacked by nobles.
(today valued more than $500,000)
Fear of rampant saffron piracy spurred
other countries to cultivate.
Basle became RICH.
Spread through England.
Especially Norfolk and Suffolk.
In Essex Saffron Walden, emerged as
England's prime saffron growing and
trading centre.
International Organization
for Standardization
Graded By Laboratory
Measured For
• Crocin (Colour),
• Picrocrocin (Taste),
• Safranal (Fragrance)
Grades: IV (Poorest), III, II, And I
Finest Quality no more than
0.5 Per Cent Of “Floral Waste”.
2009 Saffron Production
1. Iran: 300 tons (97% of world production)
2. Kashmir: 6 tons
3. Greece: 5 tons
4. Azerbaijan: 3.70 tons
5. Spain: 1 ton
6. Morocco: 0.8 ton.
7. Italy: 100 kg
8. Turkey: 10 kg
9. France: 4kg
10.Switzerland : 1 kg
Kashmiri Saffron
Rarely available outside India.
Typical methods mixing with:
• Beets,
• Pomegranate fibres,
• Red-dyed silk fibres,
• Saffron crocus's tasteless yellow
Also dousing fibres with
honey or vegetable oil.
Powdered saffron is more
prone to adulteration…..
Turmeric, Paprika, etc
As well as
2010 - 190,000 kilos of saffron exports
netted £40 million.
Local production = 1,500 kilos.
Remainder poor-quality imports from Iran,
Morocco and Greece.
Spain….Major importer countries of Iran’s
Barely one per cent of saffron labelled as
Spanish is actually grown in the country.

similar documents