Saffron; Expensive and Red Spice of Iran
Saffron is a popular and expensive souvenir of Iran which is mostly produced in eastern provinces that if anybody has visited these places, it is impossible not to have heard about this plant.
Saffron is a plant that its scientific name is Crocus Sativus. Saffron has medicinal properties and it is used as a natural color for food. Iran is the most important producer of saffron in the world.
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world. This plant is probably originated from the island of Crete or Greece.
Shape of Saffron Plant
A saffron is a small and perennial herb with height of 10 to 30 centimeters. From the middle to the stem, some of narrow leaves can be seen. From the middle of the leaves, a flowering stem ends in three flowers. The flowers have 6 purple petals and 3 flags and a pendulum ends in a red-orange-colored stigma. The edible part of the plant is the end of stigma which is known as saffron and has a bitter smell and taste.
History of Saffron
Iranians, while exporting saffron to many parts of the ancient world, introduced its properties to Greek, Italy, China and Arabs. They taught the planting method of saffron to the Islamic communities around Mediterranean during the first to fourth centuries.
Saffron in Iranian Rituals
Historical documentation of the history of saffron represents the fact that Iranians have had a lot of interest in gold and saffron from ancient times, so they used to give saffron and gold in ceremonies, celebrations, weddings and festivals to the guests.
In some ceremonies, saffron was smoked alone to aromatize the air. In Achaemenid era, saffron was used to decorate the bread and aromatic foods. During Parthian period, Iranian saffron was sent to Greece and Rome. In Sassanian era, saffron planting became commonplace in Qom and its quality was well-known.
Worth to know that saffron was used as a natural color for writing and paintings in the past.