Official website: kashmirsaffron.co.in
Marketed by: Keynote International
What is Kashmir ‘Mongra’ Saffron?
Kashmir Saffron (ISO Category-I / Local Grade: mogra/mongra) is the most potent variety of saffron in the world. It has the highest levels of safranal, crocin & picrocrocin – compounds which give saffron its intense aroma, vivid colour and characteristic taste. One can easily identify Kashmir “Mongra” Saffron as only the thickest and darkest (maroon-purple) stigmas are selected for packing within the “Mongra” grade.
Kashmir Saffron is also the rarest and the most expensive form of Saffron available in the markets as annual production is limited to only about 2000-2500 kg which is less than 1% of total world production. Post harvest, most of the stocks are sold to Michelin star restaurants around the world as well as private collectors and connoisseurs of fine and rare spices.
How is our brand of Kashmir Saffron different?
01. Potency: Kashmir Saffron cultivated in and around saffron fields of Pampore has consistently produced some of the best saffron in the world (with a coloring strength of 240+).
02. Universal appeal: Unlike uni-dimensional saffron produced in other parts of the world (focused on high colouring strengths), Kashmir Saffron has a pleasant honey-like aroma and a sweet after-taste which makes it ideal for a wide range of culinary applications from desserts to savoury preparations and even beverages.
03. Transparency: Each pack of Kashmir Saffron is stamped with three essential figures. Crocin (colour), Picrocrocin (flavour) and Safranal (aroma) levels based on laboratory tests. Though it’s prudent to note that colouring strength diminishes over time and is the most potent till two months from the date of harvest.
04. Aesthetically pleasant: Kashmir Saffron is an excellent choice for your plating needs as it mostly consists of lush, thick and all red/maroon threads without the tail ends of the stigmas.
05. Certification: Every Kashmir Saffron harvest is certified using IS 5453 / 3632 and phyto-sanitary standards. Only those batches which match specifications for Category-I saffron are approved for further sale.
06. Provenance: Our Kashmir Saffron comes exclusively from one plantation, one harvest and one processing unit located in Kashmir. This guarantees consistency of colour and flavour which is of paramount importance to our clients in the culinary industry.
How is saffron cultivated?
Production in Kashmir
In order to produce a kilogram of Kashmir Saffron, nearly 150000 to 170000 flowers have to be harvested in a time consuming and laborious process which involves over fifty labourers hand-picking flowers for further processing. Each flower contains three stigmas. Red tips of stigmas (ideally the first 17 millimeters) are separated and dried quickly upon extraction. Higher the number of these dark red stigmas, higher is the value of the saffron.
Kashmir Saffron can be identified by its dark red/maroon (with a purple tinge) coloured strands which are thick and flat in appearance. These are then packed in airtight glass bottles for further distribution. Plastic, wooden or cork packages are not used as these are detrimental to the flavouring strength of saffron strands.
The Crocus buds begin to flower in the middle of autumn (October). Each flower has three stigmas. These stigmas tend to be yellow in colour at the end which is attached to the flower and red on the end which is loose. Flowers are picked at dawn before they wilt and their stigmas are carefully separated by hand and dried in a mildly sunlit room for around 6 hours. These dried stigmas are further sorted into exclusively red stigmas (high quality saffron) and reddish yellow stigmas (medium quality saffron). Broken stigmas are separated to produce saffron powder (low grade saffron).
Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers.
Production around the world
Almost all saffron grows in a dry belt stretching from Spain in the west to India in the east. Total annual world production of saffron is around 300000 kg. Out of the same, about 50000 kg is Grade-I saffron. That’s about 16% of the total production.
Iran produces around 279000 kg of saffron. Greece ranks second in production with 5700 kg, while Morocco and India (Kashmir) produce 2300 kg each. Austria, Germany, and Switzerland (Mund), Australia (Tasmania), China, Egypt, England (Burnham Norton), France, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey (Safranbolu), California and Central Africa all produce a few kilograms of saffron.
How should I correctly use Kashmir Saffron in my preparations?
One must know how to take full advantage of the entire range of flavours packed in these delicate saffron threads without wasting this precious spice away.
To truly enjoy the exotic flavours of Kashmir Saffron, we recommend soaking whole Saffron threads in 30 to 40 ml of hot (75 degrees Celsius) water, milk or wine for at least 45 minutes! The saffron threads will impart their taste, aroma and colour to this solution, which can then be used to flavour your saffron based dishes. One can also leave this mixture overnight to create a potent infusion.
Saffron tends to lose its potency when exposed to the elements. Hence it should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place away from sunlight. We avoid using absorbent and/or reactive materials when packing our saffron. Our Kashmir Saffron is packed in food grade inert airtight glass jars with dual layered tight tin caps.
We also recommend our consumers to harness the power of Kashmir Saffron while it is fresh; ideally within six to eight months from the date of harvest. Coloring strength of saffron tends to diminish with time.
For more information visit: flavours.keynoteintl.com