Saffron from Kashmir
Pure Saffron Kesar is grown mainly in Jammu and Kashmir, with the Kashmiri variety is of high quality. It is the world most expensive spice.
People believe that it was brought to India by the Persian rulers in 500.B.C., who planted its sapling in the local soil after falling in love with Kashmir.
However, according to a local legend, two Sufi saints brought this spice to India around the 11th-12th century.
Locals believe that when Khawaja Masood Wali and Sheikh Sharif-u-Noise Wali got sick, they asked the local tribal leader to cure their disease.
They returned his favor by presenting him with a saffron crocus sapling. The monks have a golden dome dedicated to them in the "Saffron town" of India, Pampore.
Even today, in late autumn, locals offer prayers of gratitude to both the saints. According to another story, this spice is mentioned in old Hindu texts.
About 150,000 fresh Saffron flowers produce one kilo of the finest quality, which sells for about US $ 10 per gram, about 3000-4500 USD / kg.
Low and cheap quality is produced by mixing reds and stains with yellow styles. People also eat flower petals as vegetables in Kashmiri cuisine.
Gambir, local medicine for cough and cold, is also made from it. The stems are used as animal feed. Most of the best quality produce is packaged for export purposes.
The types found in Indian markets, which have beautiful names like Lacha, Mogra, and Sarda, are grown in Kashmir, where about one-eighth of that area is used to grow this spice.
In it is cultivated in India mostly in Jammu and Kashmir there are certain ameature efforts going on in other parts of India but they are very meagre or small.
It is worlds best Kesar with nicest aroma, taste, and fragrance.
Pampore a saffron town, a township in the Pulwama district, is the largest production site in Kashmir with a 3,200 hectares area.
One hundred sixty-five hectares of land is used for growing this spice in Srinagar, the capital.
Three hundred acres of land in Budgam is also used for the same purpose. In Jammu, only Kishtwar has a land of 50 hectares growing this spice.
The following are a few local saffron filed types that you should know about:
This part of the Crocus sativus flower is a deep red spot enriched with all you need. It is the purest and most expensive form of Pure Kashmiri Saffron Kesar.
This type, to put it merely, comprises the Mongra along with the yellowtail part. It is considered a lower quality product than Mongra.
It is also called Spanish kesar. This type contains the flower's whole pollen, including the laccha area.
This spice contains many plant chemical compounds with magical medicinal properties that protect your body.
It comprises many compounds and antioxidants. The crocin, carotenoid compound gives the stains their golden color.
It also comprises carotenoids, such as lycopene and zeaxanthin. These are essential healing chemicals that help protect the human body from the destruction caused by free radicals.
Thus, this spice acts as a shields you from cancer.
It is also added in many germ-killing drugs, digestive, and anti-pain treatments in many traditional medicines.
This spice has minerals like copper, potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc.
It is also abundant in many essential vitamins, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, and vitamin-C, which are very important for your health.
It is believed to increase the blood's oxygen content and purify it. It is also used as a heart-related tonic and helps treat sicknesses caused by the blood-thinning.
It kills bacteria and is ideal for treating acne. Due to its anti-bacterial and exfoliating properties, it helps you get a glowing and radiant skin.
It protects brain cells by preventing brain stroke.
The color determines the quality of this spice. The deeper, more intense the color, the better is the quality of the spice.
A 2-3 digit number reflects coloring strength. For example, your spice may have a color strength of 180 or 96 or 236. The higher this number, the better is your spice.
According to the International Organization (ISO), 190 and 250 color strengths value is the best quality.
The following are some things you should know before you buy Saffron.
- Stigma and style.
The best quality of this spice contains just the Dried Stigmas of the flower. Including the style of the flower is a common practice.
But some sellers cheat their buyers by adding extra parts of the flower. Make sure your spice has nothing but the stigma and style of the flower.
- Crocin, Picrocrocin and Safranal levels.
These three agents give the spice color, aroma, and flavor: the quality or the grade decided by these elements' levels.
The levels of these elements are tested in the laboratory. High levels of these elements are an indicator of better quality.
The spice is graded as follows:
Grade 1 A+ Stigmas only. It is also known as 'All Red.'
Grade 2 A It includes the yellow-white style ends of the stigma along with the stigmas.
Grade 3 B It includes the entire style and the stigma, all attached.
You can also use the following ways to check the quality of this spice:
- Smell: This spice has a sweet and pungent smell. Its aroma falls under the honey and hay family of aroma. It does NOT have a perfumey smell.
- Taste: This spice smells sweet, but it tastes bitter. Some say it tastes as bitter as tobacco. Thus, the original spice does NOT taste sweet.
- Color: This spice dyes the liquid it is soaked in, but its color does NOT fade away. The stigmas change the color of water, but their color never fades. Also, it never dyes the liquid immediately. The stigmas need to be soaked for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Soluble: The stigmas of this spice do not dissolve. The spice is NOT water-soluble.
With this information, you can make sure you buy the most authentic and best quality without cheating.
This spice is easy to use. You can add a few strands to a cup of warm milk along with some dry fruits powder to make Kesar Doodh.
This milk recipe can help you unwind and relax. It can also help you get good sleep.