Saffron, properties and how it is grown

Saffron, properties and how it is grown

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Saffron, property,benefits and contraindications. Where to buy saffron of excellent quality and recommended doses.

Properties of saffron: its active ingredients

Thesaffronit is a precious and complex spice: it contains over 150 volatile compounds and aromas. It also includes a large number of non-volatile active ingredients such as carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, lycopene and various alpha- and beta-carotenes. Incidentally, zeaxanthin is one of the carotenoids naturally present in the retina of the human eye.

The typical yellow color ofsaffronalpha-crocin is a carotenoid pigment which can constitute up to 10% by weight ofsaffron.

If the color is given by alpha-crocin, the flavor ofsaffronis punctuated by picrocrocin, a glycoside known for its property repellents against various types of insects and parasites. Picrocrocin can reach up to 4% of the weight of thesaffrondry. The scent (aroma) ofsaffronit is dictated by another compound, safranal. Departing, at least in part, from chemistry, let's see what they arepropertynutritional ofsaffron(Crocus sativus).

Saffron, nutritional properties

Here are the nutritional values ​​for 100 grams of saffron.

  • Saffron, calories: 310 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 65.37
  • Fat: 5.85
  • Proteins: 11.43
  • Vitamins
    - Vitamin A: 530 IU
    -Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 0.115 mg
    -Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.267 mg
    -Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 1.46 mg
    -Vitamin C: 80.8 mg
  • Minerals
    - Calcium: 111 mg
    -Iron: 11.10 mg
    -Magnesium: 264 mg
    - Phosphorus: 252 mg
    -Potassium: 1724 mg
    - Sodium: 148 mg
    -Zinc: 1.09 mg
  • Other constituents
    - Water: 11.90 mg
    -Selenium: 5.6 mg
    - Folate: 93 mcg
    -Vitamin B6: 1.010 mg

The source of thenutritional properties of saffron just reported, refers to the authoritativeUSDA Nutrient Database.

Properties of saffron

Biomedical research suggests that it is saffron can be used as an adjunct in the treatment of major depressive disorder. The antidepressant properties of saffron have been highlighted in various studies, as a reference we point out the publication edited byLopreste AL, Drummond PD (2014) eentitled "Saffron (Crocus sativus) for depression: a systematic review of clinical studies and examination of underlying antidepressant mechanisms of action“.

Saffron, therapeutic properties

The potential applications ofsaffronin the medical field they do not only concern the psychiatric field. Preclinical studies push researchers to delve into potentialsanti-tumor properties of saffron.

This topic is quite dear to Asian researchers, as demonstrated by the publication in the Pharmaceutical Biology journal entitled "Role of saffron and its constituents on cancer chemoprevention", Literally:the role of saffron and its constituents in cancer chemoprevention.

Other studies suggest how it doessaffronmay relieve the symptoms of PMS.

Thanks to its multipleproperty(although not many have been clinically proven), it issaffronhas a long history in traditional medicine from several countries.

Saffron, beneficial properties

Saffron has powerful peopleantioxidant properties: counteracts free radicals, responsible for cellular aging and, as stated, has a natural anti-tumor action.

Saffron for weight loss?

It is a useful natural remedy to improve digestion: it stimulates the digestive system and for this reason it is very often attributedslimming properties. In fact, saffron improves digestion functions by promoting the release of bile and gastric juices, useful for digesting fats or to lighten heavy meals but certainly, by themselves, these properties will not help you lose weight.

Saffron, how it is used

It depends on therecipes! For stewed dishes it is dissolved in water and added at the beginning of cooking but, more typically, saffron must be added at the end of cooking otherwise it risks losing its precious aroma.

Pay attention to the doses: 0.1 g is enough for 3 servings.

Saffron, contraindications and side effects

After seeing all the property and i benefits exercised by saffron, it must be said that this spice is not without contraindications.

It is important to consume the spice in low quantities because an excessive dosage could presentside effectsalso serious for the body. Assuming 5 grams of saffron you can have itside effectssuch as drowsiness, dizziness or, in rare cases, bleeding. Taking 10 g can have abortive effects on pregnant women.

Betweencontraindications, it is not recommended to exceed the maximum daily dose for those who already take anticoagulant drugs or have to undergo surgery.

The daily dose NOT to be exceeded is 1.5 gr but, to season a dish made of 3 portions, the sachets that you find on the market are generally only 0.1 gr. So the maximum dose is really difficult to achieve!

The cultivation and production of saffron

Before being a spice of manyproperty, losaffronis a plant, theCrocus sativus. We are talking about a species that thrives in the Mediterranean, therefore perfect to grow in our climate. It is possible to cultivate it saffron in jar or in the garden.

How to grow saffron

Cultivating saffron is relatively simple even if this, like all plants, requires care and possible treatments if the cultivation is located in particularly humid areas. Thesaffronit resists the cold, manages to survive temperatures below 8 degrees below zero (-10 ° C) and short periods of snow cover.

The optimal climate for saffron growth includes springs with abundant rains and dry summers. Rain (as well as abundant irrigation) just before saffron blooms increases the plant's yield. On the contrary, rain and cold during flowering can compromise the yield of saffron and increase the chances of disease. The plant should not be kept in the shade, it grows well in full sun.

Saffron, income crop

Who intends to start asaffron productioncould find themselves making an excellent investment: thesaffron priceit is exorbitant and has never undergone significant falls over time. It is good to inquire and train before evaluating the possibility ofproduce saffron, a great improvement point is the manual titled: The red gold of the Alps. Technical-scientific manual of saffron production. The cultivation of saffron, in addition to being a source of income, is for many producers an authentic cultural heritage that is handed down from generation to generation, it is the case of Sardinian saffron crops.

DOP saffron, Sardinian saffron:saffron in Sardinia and the DOP brand

The saffron that we find on the market is generally of Iranian origin. In fact, Iran today accounts for approximately 90% of global saffron production. Fortunately, in Italy there are still small production companies, one example is Sardinian saffron dop.

TheSardinian saffronis a quality mark recognized at European level that identifies such a plantCrocus sativusgrown, harvested and processed in the province of Medio Campidano, in Sardinia. TheSardinian saffroncan rely onProtected Designation of Origin(DOP brand) and the production area includes the municipalities of San Gavino Monreale, Turri and Villanovafranca.

Although it is not as popular as Sardinian saffron, other productive realities are located in the Marche and Abruzzo, where several autonomous farms produce saffron by exploiting the fertility of the soil.

Pure saffron, where to buy it

To buy Italian saffron, I point outthis Amazon page, where an Abruzzese company offers 3 mg of saffron at a price of 9.99 euros with free shipping. It is the Italian product with the best value for money.

Also on Amazon, there is no shortage of cheaper proposals. For example, 3 grams of saffron of unspecified origin (therefore probably Iranian) can be bought at a price of 18.99 euros. In this case, saffron can also be used to decorate the dishes. For all information, please refer tothis Amazon page.

In the following video it istoldtheresaffron production.

TheSardinian saffronit is not the only one with a DOP brand, even iteagle saffron andthesaffron from San Gimignaoare accompanied by theprotected designation of origin.

Video: saffron growing indoors (July 2022).


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