Negin saffron is the red part of the pure saffron stigmas. The yellowish part of the threads is removed by hand, one by one, resulting in saffron with higher coloring and aromatic power.
Saffron filaments come from the flower of a plant called Crocus sativus, or saffron. It blooms for about 20 days, and during that time the growers harvest the flowers by hand from before dawn until noon. The petals are removed from each flower to extract the three stigmas (the filaments), which will be heat-dried to reduce the moisture content to the 5-6% necessary for optimum preservation. The filaments are so tiny that over 100,000 flowers are needed for a kilo of Negin saffron, which is why it is such a costly spice.
Saffron Negin from Azafranda is classed in the Extra I Category, which is the highest quality according to the requirements of ISO standard 3632:
| Negin Saffron |
|I Category (ISO-3632)|
|Picrocrocin||85 or more||70 or more|
|Crocin||230 or more||190 or more|
|Safranal||30 or more||Between 20 and 50|
Spanish saffron is one of the indispensable ingredients for paella, but it is also excellent with fish, meat, casseroles, rice dishes, pasta, sauces, soups (bouillabaisse, for example) and even cakes, cookies and ice cream.
It is best to add saffron to the dish during cooking to take maximum advantage of its aromatic power. When making paella, for example, the saffron threads are crushed and added to the broth about 5 minutes before adding the broth to the rest of the ingredients.
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