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What is Saffron?
Saffron is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. The Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, Crocus Sativus Linneaus . Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of Saffron filaments, making it the world's most precious spice. But, because of saffron's strong coloring power and intense flavor, it can be used sparingly. A little goes a long way.
Occidental International Foods, LLC

4 Middlebury Blvd., Suite 3   
Aspen Business Park   
Randolph, NJ 07869
Tel: 973-970-9220
Fax: 973-970-9222
E-mail: info@occidentalfoods.com
Occidental
International
Foods, LLC
Saffron is used both for its bright orange-yellow color, and for its strong, intense flavor and aroma. It is used in Risotto Milanese and bouillabaisse , as well as a variety of Spanish rice dishes, including the very popular paella . Scandinavians have long used saffron extensively in bread, rolls and cakes.

Saffron is available both in filaments and powder, though the long, deep red filaments are usually preferable to the powder as the latter can be easily adulterated.

History:
Saffron has been used in cooking since the 10 th century B.C. It was popular among the Phoenician traders, who carried it wherever they travelled. The ancient Assyrians used saffron for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans used it to perfume their baths. The bright orange-yellow color it yields has made it important for use as a dye. Saffron is cultivated in many Mediterranean countries, as well as in the Middle East and the Near East. Most imported saffron comes from Spain.

Quality & Grades:
Saffron from Spain has been traditionally broken down into four quality categories:

1) Coupe
2) Mancha
3) Rio
4) Sierra

"Coupe" is extremely rare and is not sold in any significant quantities. "Mancha" saffron is characterized by a deep red color and very few off color filaments; it is the best quality readily available on the market. "Rio" and "Sierra" qualities have a greater number of white or yellow filaments, and thus weaker coloring power, and less flavor and aroma.

Coloring power is of primary importance when evaluating saffron quality. The stronger the coloring power of the saffron threads, the better the quality. Saffron with a darker red color, and fewer white or yellow filaments will generally have a stronger coloring power, and a stronger flavor and aroma. The better qualities of saffron will have only minimal amounts of floral waste, or will have none at all (floral waste includes any parts of the saffron flower other than the stigmas), and will be free of extraneous matter.

Storage:
For best results, saffron should be stored in an ambient temperature and protected from exposure to light. The product is normally good for at least 5 - 7 years from the date of packing.

Packaging:
We have many different packs available, including our decorated, cello-wrapped tins with 1 oz (28.35 grams) net weight, ideal for foodservice use. Our saffron also comes packed in plastic vials with 1 gram, 2 grams or 5 grams net weight per unit, 12 vials per display box.

Organoleptic, Physical, Chemical & Microbiological Characteristics:
  • Appearance: Dried dark red filaments, with a small percentage of yellow or white stamens and styles.
  • Aroma & flavor: Characteristic of the product, aromatic.
  • Size of filaments: 15 - 40 mm in length
  • Moisture: < 12.0 %
  • Ash Content: < 8.0 %
  • Acid Insoluble Ash: < 1.0 %
  • Extraneous Matter: < 0.5 %
  • Product is free of all pathogens.
Product is available in our New Jersey warehouse. Please contact our Sales Department for product spec sheets and price quotes on an Ex-warehouse or Delivered basis. See Contact info below or on our Contact Page