Kashmir is said to be one of the best location that is blessed with quality saffron and is the only place after Spain and Iran, where saffron is produced. The production starts from the plant of Sativus, which blooms in the month of October. In the initial stages the crimson of the flower is dried that forms saffron, which is now one of the most expensive spices in the whole world. Kashmiri saffron is known as the best quality saffron in the world because of its long and dark silky threads, which has its unique aroma and flavoring capacity. However, the availability of quality saffron now days is very rare due to the spice’s high value. It is because of the value of saffron that many illegal parties have turned towards marketing of fake or poor quality saffron, which is of very poor quality compared to the original Kashmiri saffron.
Quality saffron to buy are very hard to find and if you are planning to buy saffron, then it is better to stay updated on the quality parameters on which you can judge the quality of saffron. First of all the treads of saffron should be long and wiry when you touch them and if you feel it is a bit oily then it is not quality saffron. The best quality saffron in the market would be of complete red color and must be handpicked because there quality. Another thing that decides the freshness of saffron is its aroma that one can feel just by opening the can of saffron because it has a unique scent. Another substitute that is used to replace saffron is safflower because it gives the same color to the food item as saffron does but, the taste and flavor that saffron provides can never be matched. Safflower threads are much smaller in length as compared to real saffron and are very cheap. It is advised to prefer saffron stigmas instead of buying saffron powder because the powder degrades much faster than the threads.
As per the marketing research, some believe that saffron grown and cultivated in Spain is much better than other varieties of saffron but it is just a marketing gimmick because Kashmiri saffron is proved to be the best for medical as well as for other cooking related purposes. Even saffron produced in Greece is said to be of optimum quality when it comes to aroma and flavor.