Saffron
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Saffron
Saffron
Saffron

Where does saffron come from?

Saffron comes from the stigma of a gorgeous flower, the Crocus Sativus.
Saffron’s scientific name comes from the Persian word “asfar”, meaning “yellow”, for the distinctive colour that this spice gives to the foods and fabrics in and on which it is used. This bulbous herbaceous plant has been cultivated around the Mediterranean since very ancient times indeed, but its origin should probably be sought somewhere between Greece and Asia Minor. Saffron has had many diverse uses: in cooking, as a dye for garments, in the preparation of unguents and perfumes, and to colour the bandages of Egyptian mummies. In Persia, it was widely used as an aphrodisiac. Apothecaries in bygone times used it as a sedative and antispasmodic.
Just inland from Genoa, above the Valbisagno valley and, to be more precise, in Rosso di Davagna, saffron is cultivated. We invite you to get to know this amazing spice and the products made from it (saffron honey, saffron jams, syrup, liqueur, and more).
www.zafferanorosso.it
 
Three Genoese young people with a strong passion for the “country life”,
we grew up with one foot in the countryside and the other in the city, keeping alive the ties that bound us to the inland where our roots lay. We have been farming for a number of years. In the beginning, we did it purely for pleasure, searching for the type of crop most well-suited to raising awareness of and promoting our lands, which are so enchanting, and yet so inaccessible. Farming in Liguria is not always an easy thing, but it is a wonderful testing ground and the experience it rewards you with is priceless.
 
The introduction of saffron as the primary crop on our lands was the outcome of long research and considered reflection regarding our local area. As you can see for yourselves, our idea immediately yielded results that went beyond the mere satisfactory to qualify as stunning.
From the flowers, which blooms between October and November, the stigmas, which are commonly called saffron, are delicately and patiently harvested by hand. Each flower yields either 2 or 3 stigmas. An approximately 3-gram envelope of saffron contains about 30 stigmas!
Naturaequa has chosen to use this high quality saffron because it shares the decision to choose locally-sourced products.

Where does saffron come from?

Saffron comes from the stigma of a gorgeous flower, the Crocus Sativus.
Saffron’s scientific name comes from the Persian word “asfar”, meaning “yellow”, for the distinctive colour that this spice gives to the foods and fabrics in and on which it is used. This bulbous herbaceous plant has been cultivated around the Mediterranean since very ancient times indeed, but its origin should probably be sought somewhere between Greece and Asia Minor. Saffron has had many diverse uses: in cooking, as a dye for garments, in the preparation of unguents and perfumes, and to colour the bandages of Egyptian mummies. In Persia, it was widely used as an aphrodisiac. Apothecaries in bygone times used it as a sedative and antispasmodic.

Properties

Although today it is used chiefly in food, numerous studies have made it common knowledge that this precious spice has numerous properties, particularly as an emmenagogue and mood modulator (because it stimulates the central nervous system).
What’s more, saffron has considerable oestrogenic and metabolism-stimulating activity and is an effective aid in weight-loss therapies, with proven effectiveness in weight loss and weight control regimens, as it reduces nervous hunger and the need to fall back on snacks outside of mealtimes.

Cultivation

Crocus Sativus is the cultivated species of saffron. It is a triploid plant, which requires vegetative division in order for the bulbs to separate. In fact, artificial selection carried out over time has made it incapable of producing viable seeds. It therefore depends on human assistance to reproduce.
With the exception of the tillage of the soil, every other step of this plant’s cultivation is carried out by hand. The harvest usually begins around mid-October and lasts for about one month.
The flowers are harvested early in the morning, before they have opened. Then, expert and delicate hands detach and carefully select the stigma from inside the corolla. At the tip of a white filament there are three threads, bright orange or red in colour, which are what is called saffron. The two shorter yellow threads, called “femminelle” in Italian, have no value as a colouring, aromatic or flavouring agent, and therefore no commercial value. The stigmas are dried in the sun or in an oven, until the moisture level is at <10%. During the course of this operation they lose about four-fifths of their original weight.
The red stigmas, which are richer in active substances, are the most valuable part. After drying, they are transformed into a fine-textured vermilion powder, which is saffron’s most precious heart. The high economic value of this spice arises from the fact that it takes 150,000 flowers and two months of work to produce just 1 kg of it. Its extreme costliness, which it owes to the intensive nature of the harvest and subsequent processing, has inevitably given rise to numerous adulteration attempts.
 
Saffron powder is precious because it is also a goldmine of active ingredients. It is one of the foods richest in carotenoids (about 8%, compared with the 0.008% contained in a carrot, which is recognised as being one of the plants richest in these substances) and vitamins B1 and B2, in addition to 150 volatile aromatic substances, which give it its characteristic fragrance and flavour.


Thanks to all of this, its principal effects are that it:

  • protects the cells against oxidation damage
  • bolsters the immune system
  • has vitamin A precursor activity
  • has anti-tumour activity
  • is an antioxidant
  • promotes the oxygen exchange within the cells that is necessary for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
  • activates the metabolism

It can be found in the following products:

  • Soothing Saffron and Lavender Cream

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