Saffron: The quality

Saffron consists of the dry limbs of the flower scars of Crocus sativus L. from the family Iridaceae. The stigmas are almost purple, 2-3 cm long, the length to be rolled up like a funnel and finely denticulate. Depending on the commercial quality saffron contains more or less yellowish in color pencil pieces. Saffron characteristic smells aromatic and spicy and slightly bitter taste.
ISO Quality Standard
The standard ISO / TS 3632-1 are the qualities tskriterien for saffron powder and saffron strands defined internationally. The ISO / TS 3632-2 governs the physical and chemical methods to measure the quality criteria.
The intense color of saffron, which is caused by carotenoids. Saffron contains even less characteristic of conventional dye-carotene (a-and -carotene, lycopene and zeaxanthin), but its staining capability, especially esters of crocetine.

Crocetin is a dicarboxylic acid with a carotenoid-like C18 structure which is formed with similar compounds as a degradation product of carotenoids ("diterpene carotenoid"). The ester of crocetin gentiobiose with is the single most important saffron dye.

In the essential oil were found numerous terpene and terpene. In the essential quantity safranal, 2,4,4-trimethyl 1,3-cyclohexadiene-1-carbaldehyde (50% and more), but also other similar compounds (eg 2-hydroxy-4, 4, 6-trimethyl 2,5-cyclohexadiene-1-one) were identified as the essential character of saffron aroma. However, further tests were also terpenes (pinene, cineol) detected.


The bitter taste of saffron is to picrocrocin, the glucoside of an safranal alcohol (4-hydroxy-2 ,4,4-trimethyl 1,3-cyclohexadiene-1-carbaldehyde), back out. When the glycoside cleavage of picrocrocin safranal ultimately arises. Safranal and its relatives, predominantly C9-or C10-isoprenoids with cyclohexane resulting in saffron as degradation products of carotenoid pigments.


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