Saffron of Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its intrinsic high quality due to high colouring strength, aroma and its bitterness. The commercial saffron is produced from the brilliant orange-red stigmas (20-30 mm long) along with approximately 35-50 mm portion of style. One kg of dried saffron is obtained from 5.0- 5.5 kg of fresh "stigmas + styles", which in turn are separated from nearly 45-50 kg of fresh flowers, corresponding to about 1.15-1.50 lakh flowers. The commercially saffron contains water (14.5 -15.5%) protein (12.5-13.5%) total N free extract (54.5 -57.5%), starch and sugar (12.0-13.5%) , fixed oil (4.7- 8.5%), volatile oil (0.7-0.8%),crude fiber (4.0-5.0%), ash (4.0-4.5 %) and traces of potassium, phosphorous and boron. The yellow-red pigment is crocin ( glycosides), which comprises alpha, beta and gamma compounds. The yellow colour liberated in water by saffron is from crocin. The aroma is released on heating (drying of saffron ) through enzymatic hydrolysis of picrocrocin into safranal.
The harvest of saffron requires extensive manpower and is generally regarded as a labour-intensive endeavour. Picking of flower and separation of stigma is intensive hard labour work. Flowering occurs between mid-October to mid-November every year and they are picked in about 15 to 25 days for each family depending on the volume of the harvest. The flowers are collected in wicker baskets and each family takes them to their houses for separating the stigma and other flower parts. The separated stigma, pistils, anthers etc. are then dried under high-temperature which adds the brightness and colour, and preserves the quality of the product. Its surprising to know that One kg fresh flower produces approximately 18 gm of dried Saffron - Grade 1 (All red, stigmas).
At ABK house, we ensure that the post-harvest losses to quality of Saffron on account of the prolonged separation of stigmas, drying and packing are monitored and taken care of so that the Very Select Saffron, Grade 1 is delivered to you. Our saffron is dried until it reaches a moisture level of 10% and is then stored in a cool and dry place for the stability of colour of saffron tends to be inversely related to moisture content and temperature.