Saffron is made from the stamens of the Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “Saffron crocus”. These flowers are handpicked, after which the stamens are also extracted from the flower by hand. This is why saffron is so expensive. As with gold, the price changes every day, and depends a lot on the harvest and the economical situation. Saffron originated in Iran and nowadays Iran still accounts for over 90% of the world production of Saffron. Thanks to the special soil, and the stable climate, Iran is able to harvest Saffron 4 times a year, whereass other countries can only harvest once a year. This in combination with cheap labor prices means that Iran is able to supply high quality Saffron for a decent price.

As different climates and soils produce slightly different tastes, and as taste differs, Holland distribution provides Saffron both from Marokko and Iran.

Saffron is the most expensive spice on Earth.

Saffron is one of the most expensive things. Which plant is sold in grams? A very low number can be seen in this category. saffron is valuable as much as it is difficult to obtain. About 170.000 to 250.000 crocus flowers are required in order to obtain one kilogram of dried saffron! Apart from the fact that curing process, soil type, harvest time and the importance of speed, increases the value of this magical spice, saffron has become one of the most expensive spices in the world due to high demand and limited production.

 A good price of Saffron can only be found in IRAN because it comes straight from the source, where labor is cheap and the climate is good.

Holland Distribution provides you this Saffron straight from the source – where we have participation in our own farms.

Most Saffron on the market is fake. Therefore it is advised to test the quality when buying from third parties. The easiest way to test is by tasting and smelling, and by placing it in cold water. If it tastes sweet, it is fake. If the smell reminds you of honey and hay, it is real. Lastly, if you put the Saffron in cold water, it should color the water orange or yellow, while the Saffron threads do not dissolve and keep their red color. If it is real, the next question to answer is “how good is the quality”.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE GOOD QUALITY SAFFRON?

The quality of Saffron depends on several things. The most important differentiation is whether you are dealing with Poshal, Sargol or Negin. Holland Distribution is mainly trading in Super Negin, even though we also have different quality types. Super Negin is the most potent and highest quality. Furthermore can the quality be measured by the strenght of the aroma, color and flavor.

Something else which is important regarding the quality is the age of the plant. The younger the plant the better, and the earlier the harvest the better. For cooking you want to use Saffron not older than the first harvest from the fourth year, whereas for tea you want Saffron not older than the first harvest from the third year. Holland Distribution focuses on the first year production, even though we are also able to provide other saffron. This makes it perfect for tea, medicinal usages, to make an extract for it, and do you get an even better flavor when cooking.

1. Sargol: means “Top of the flower” in Farsi. Sargol is a sub-type of Persian saffron that derives from the very tip of the saffron thread. Hence, its name “top of flower.”  It also has a specific, powerful aroma. Generally speaking, Sargol saffron is considered to be high quality due to its lack of yellow or orange threads. Sargol can be easily recognized thanks to its full and deep red color and short threads. On the downside, Sargol saffron often contains crumbs and broken threads.

2. Super Negin: The most expensive and rare trim of Saffron. Super Negin saffron is known not only for being the most potent, but also for its aesthetically pleasing features. Super Negin threads are longer in length and contain no yellow or orange threads. The threads are cut symmetrically and contain no crumbs. When comparing all the trims of Saffron, Super Negin is the most sought after for those who want the best of the best. Next to this also the process of drying and cutting is slightly different, resulting in the best and most potent Saffron.

3. Negin: When compared to Sargol and Super Negin, Negin is longer in length and contains some yellow and orange portions of the thread. To put it in simple words, the aroma, quality, and purity are still great but you do pay for some portions of the yellow and orange threads, which are lower quality.

4. Pushal saffron is the cheapest and most commonly sold Saffron trim in stores. Since Saffron is so expensive, many distributors take advantage of consumers by selling them the orange and yellow portions of the thread to increase their profit margins. Since these yellow parts of the stigma contain no value, consumers end up paying much more in reality for a inferior product.

Even though you can have your Saffron in different ways, it is still quite easy to measure the quality in a laboratory.

The quality of Saffron is measured by conducting a lab analysis of the product, when it comes to testing Saffron there are three main factors to consider. The three most important are Safranal, Crocin, and Picocrocin.

Holland Distribution is proud to state having the best Saffron in the world, as all our readings are in the highest category, being 100% pure and organic.

1. Safranal (Aroma Strength)

Category 1 minimum        20-50
Category 1 average          20-50
Our Saffron average         35-50

2. Crocin (Coloring Strength) (i.e. active toxics and medicinal working)

 Category 1 minimum       200
Category 1 average         +/- 190
Our Saffron average        >250

3. Picocrocin (Flavor Strength)

Category 1 minimum        70
Category 1 average          70
Our Saffron average         > 85

Information about the medicinal working of saffron

The active toxics with medicinal properties in Saffron can be measured solely by looking at the Crocin level.

The active toxics in Saffron have Medicinal workings and health benefits:
  • Antidepressant (as strong as Prozac)
  • Hearth health
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • PMS treatment
  • Boosts memory
  • Cancer prevention
  • Improves symptoms of Alzheimer

* Even though these claims are based on research, some of these claims might need additional research.

Facts about using and storing saffron

The ART of a CULTURE from the HEART of HISTORY

From generation to generation Persian handicrafts have been preserved in cultural aspects of society since the ancient times. That includes Iranian architecture, art, life style, etc.

Nowadays Iranian handicrafts are considered as unique masterpieces which contain hundreds of years of history. Arian holding realizes this product not just as a product to export but as a mean to trade history through expanding the rich and valuable culture of ancient Persia.

We have started to export handicrafts in 2017 by participating in European exhibitions. Today we are managing many active handicraft stores in iran and supplying them directly with the original hand-made products from inside Iran.

Below are some of the famous Iranian crafts

KHATAM

Visiting Iran and fighting the temptation of buying Khatam for souvenir seems impossible!

Different kinds of Khatam decorative objects; jewelry boxes, mirror and photo frames, office supplies, chess boards catch the eye of many tourists in Esfahan. This city has been the homeland of khatam workshops from Safavi Empire up to the present time. Esfahani masters make unique objects decorated with khatam like expensive caskets, tables, clocks, accessories for the table.

Wood, metal and bone are combined forming a unique pattern of a flower. It consists of assembling thin sticks of different natural materials in a geometric, most often star-shaped patterns. Needed material are chosen according to their colors in order to reach the proper final product.

MINA KARI

The depiction of Esfahani masters from sky forms the unique art of Mina. Minakari is a delicate artwork designed by paining on ceramic and different metals. This Complicated process; forming the metal, coating with enamel and painting is being perfectly done by skillful Persians from the old times.

GHALAM KARI

Incredible taste of Persian traditional foods are inseparable with the fabulous drawings of Galamkar tablecloth!

Making a ghalamkar Terme is a time- taking and delicate job. In Yazd many enthusiastic women are making wonders! They use wooden stamps to draw beautiful patterns on cloth.

FIRUZE KUB

Firuze kub is a relatively new type of handicraft, but it is connected with another story. The word “firuz” means a stone of happiness and is translated as “turquoise”. Iran is considered the birthplace of the best turquoise. According to legend, turquoise is the bone of those who died of love. The stone itself is revered as a symbol of love and passion. The stone in Iran is more expensive than in other countries, but Iranian turquoise is of the best quality.

Timeless material with different range of patterns and multitude of colors!

Holland Distribution has visited over 80 marble quaries to select the best quality marble which the Persian Empire has to offer for you. We can deliver this marble either in bricks, sheets, half fabricates or finished products.

The word marmarit is exclusive to Iran, it is also called “sanandaji” in commercial literature. In scientific texts Onyx and marmarit are categorized in one group as Marble. Marmarit sometimes includes limestone which is not categorized as Marble. Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. It is composed primarily of the mineral Calcite. Marble is very precious because of its beauty, strength and resistance to fire and erosion. Ancient Iranian and Greek people frequently used it in their sculptures and buildings!

In comparison to Travertine, Marble is more appropriate for interior and exterior facings, because of its more hardness and less porosity. Two main textures of Marble rocks include sugary texture and mosaic texture. Pure Marble is white, but presence of impurities like Hematite, Limonite and Carbon turns it into red, light yellow, black, pink and other color combinations.

All stone here defined as marble must be capable of taking a polish. Stone in this category comprises a variety of compositional and textural types, ranging from pure carbonate to rocks containing very little carbonate that are classed commercially as marble (for example, serpentine marble). Most marbles possess an interlocking texture and a range of grain size from cryptocrystalline to 5 mm.

Marble is an Organogenic sedimentary rock which is categorized as chemical sedimentary rocks. These rocks are mostly formed chemically/biochemically from algae, coral and Calcite sediments. They may also form from Shale, planktonic creatures and silicification. Fossils may be found in layers of this rock, so marbles may be classified as fossiliferous limestone. Generally dimension stones of this group include compact Limestone and fossiliferous limestone.

With 1 gram of Saffron you can make about 60 cups of tea. this means you need 7-15 threads per 1 L tea or per 1 meal for 4 persons.

Saffron tea is very easy to make, Just take a few Saffron threads, which you may crush into powder first. After you have boiled the water, put the saffron in a cup, add the water, and then cover the cup to make sure the flavors and aromas do not disappear. After a few minutes you are done. To make saffron rice, just make the tea a bit stronger by adding more Saffron, and then put this in a bowl in which you add the rice.

When stored dry and dark, Saffron remains of good quality for at least 5 years, even though it starts losing its strenght after 2 years.

When buying Saffron, always make sure the Saffron is at least 3 months old, as during the furst 3 to 6 months it will lose up to 30% of its weight as it further dries and the moisture evaporates. Also make sure that you are not buying fake saffron.

Therefore it is advised to test the quality when buying from third parties. This can best be done by tasting and smelling, and by placing it in cold water. If it tastes sweet, it is fake. If the smell reminds you of honey and hay, it is real. Lastly, if you put the Saffron in cold water, it should color the water orange or yellow, while the Saffron threads do not dissolve and keep their red color. If it is real, the next question to answer is “how good is the quality”.