Consorzio Zafferano (Saffron Consortium)

last modified Dec 09, 2013 10:01
Consortium promoting saffron production


The 'Consorzio Zafferano' (Saffron Consortium) is under establishment, a draft of its Statute has already been written.

Saffron is a product of excellence from the San Gimignano area, and it was declared product of protected designation of origin (PDO) in February 2005.

San Gimignano's saffron features

San Gimignano's saffron is exclusively made from dehydrated stigmas of “Crocus sativus L.”, a plant belonging to the Iridaceae family. Historically considered as of excellent quality, saffron's characteristics are mainly due to three chemical elements: crocin, which makes it yellow; picrocrocin, responsible of saffron's special taste; and safranal, responsible of saffron's aroma. 1st rank product according to ISO 3632.1/1993 - test methos ISO 3632.2 point 13, it is used mainly in cooking. Furthermore saffron 's medical features are recently being rediscovered: according to the preparation, it can have eupeptic, tonic, digestive, antispasmodic, emmenagogic, and carminative effects, it can whet your appetite, and even help dentition. Saffron is also used in the preparation of medicaments for bruises, burns, abrasion, in collyrium and tinctures. Saffron is sold leaving stigmas as filaments. If it was ground it would be hard for the consumer to tell if it's real saffron or if different elements such as safflower, Calendula arvensis, or okra powder were added..

150,000 flowers are required in order to obtain 1 kg of saffron, while 0.1 grams of powder are enough for 4 portions.

How to produce saffron

  1. farming: in july bulbs are harvested, selected, treated, and replanted in a sandy or silted, sunny terrain in august
  2. fertilizing: natural fertilizer only
  3. harvesting: in october and november, by hand very early in the morning before bulbs open
  4. cleaning: to be done when harvested, on the very same day. Separate by hand the red-orange part of the stigmas from the yellow one
  5. desiccation: to be done below 50° Celsius in order to protect saffron's flavour and taste
  6. packing: to be done by hand, saffron is sold in stigmas, not in powder, in order to guarantee its high quality. 0.10-grams packages are the most common.