The plants from which our saffron is produced are organically grown. The tiny red filaments, female part of the flower, are harvested and kept whole in order to guarantee the absolute purity of the product since it is rather easy to dilute the powder, adulterating it with colored substances.
Even though large quantities of saffron are produced in Iran, Spain and Greece, the Sardinian spice is characterized by its quality and its strong aroma and flavor.
In Sardinia, September is the planting season of the crocus corms, the plants are then grown in the field for four years. Harvest time comes in November, time in which the fields are fully carpeted with the typical purple flowers. The harvesting is conducted by hand by removing the three stigmas of each flower, it takes some 150 flowers to produce a single gram of saffron.
The stigmas need then to be dried but the Sardinian tradition requires a unique step called “soft moistening” (“sa feidadura” in Sardinian language). It is performed by delicately rubbing by hand each and every stigma with olive oil. This procedure helps to achieve the correct drying point and gifts the final product with a distinctive brilliance.Saffron contains three different active ingredients:
– Crocin, which regulates the hue intensity of the stigma,
– Picrocrocin, which regulates the flavor
– Safranal, which regulates the aroma.
The actual Crocin content in the Sardinian saffron is the highest in the world.
A matter of alarm for the consumers is represented by the ample variety of adulteration techniques concerning the saffron market. Much confusion is also generated by different quality levels of such product and the ample swings in pricing found in various parts of the world.
On the international market the saffron quality is regulated by the ISO3632 guidelines. In the following table on international standards, it clearly appears that the quality of the Sardinian saffron, provided by STARDINIA, is actually the highest in the world.
Saffron Grading standards