Qaenat (in Khorasan-Iran) is the best and greatest production center of saffron in the world. Suitable climate of the region for planting, irrigation and cultivation of highest quality saffron in the world along with the mild and sunny plains and skirts of the region are appropriate factors for saffron production. One of the exceptional feature of saffron is not only for food usages but also applied in many industries. So for this reason worldwide market of this plant is so prosperous.
Saffron is a plant in subtropical areas with mild winters and hot, fairly dry summers while mild spring and fall is going well, within latitude 320 to 360 of northern Iran at altitude above 1000m meter sea level has shown a good performance.
Preparing the ground: Planting saffron in the first t year and the onion term will be 5-7 years old stated on earth and cultivated. The suitable light soil, sand, clay or combinations, without tree not exposed to cold winds are good conditions for growing saffron. Firstly clearing the land from weeds and plow back on time and in autumn and winter at the depth of 20-30 cm deep plowing and after 10 to 20 days, 15 up to 20 Tons rotten manure plus as the same amount ash should be spread on the ground once more deep plowing and after flattening, up to September, there is no need any other operations.
Choosing the onion: The onion aged 2-3 year, more healthy without any ulcers and abrasion and free of disease are appropriate for cultivation (the size of onion shall be between a hazelnut to a walnut is different).
Planting the bulbs: Planting time of the bulbs depending on the condition of the areas varies from early August up to the middle of September, 2500 to 3000Kg per hectare varies upon the coarseness of the land. Prior to planting the onions, the brown color layer of them must be separated till the last thin layer remains. After plotting the land (usually length 30 m and width 10 m) in the rows in a deep hole 15 to 25 cm with the plow, the bulbs planted, within each hole 1 to 3 onions apart 15 up to 20 cm from each side must be performed.
Irrigation: If the first round irrigation to be done in August and September instead of mid October the saffron flower will not grow so the leaves shall appear. The operation of breaking crust and surface plowing will be done 3 Daye after initial watering. After cultivation of the first year saffron, the leaves appear and from the first flowers cultivating prior to yellowing the saffron leaves, irrigation must be performed in each 10-15 day period (from November up to next year March and May except for icy and snowy days). From the second year in each October per a year 15 tones rotten manure plus 150 Kg of grade 10-15-15 fertilizer must be spread after the first fertilizing and weeds removal and crust breaking.
Saffron cultivation: Time of saffron cultivation is from the last days of October up to mid December in the early morning before sun-rise since sun light harm the flower freshness and low quality. At last the carefully pluck the stigmas from the flowers with fingers and classified as their types must be done. Then, they shall be dried upon special procedure. The amount of cultivated saffron in each hectare will be 5 to 25 Kg depending on planting conditions.
In ancient time Middle Eastern farmers export saffron to different regions and territories and introduce the plant to Greek, Romans, Chinese and Sammie including Arabs. The planting procedures are also taught to Islamic nations near Mediterranean areas. Thus the first saffron cultivation. Accomplished by them in Sham then transferred and spread to north Africa and Andolos (Old Islamic Spain) and saghalie (Sicilia). The historical facts indicate their favorites are gold and saffron so they with gold and saffron to welcome bride and grooms in wedding and in different ceremonies as well as Noghl (Iranian traditional sweet) and flower and saffron presenting to all of the guests. In some cases the saffron burnt with Moshk (noschus musk) and Anbar (Ambergis) & Ood (Aromatic wood) with Rose water. In achaemenian era, saffron used as ornamental on bread loafs and spicing and flavoring the food. In parti era, saffron transported to Rome and Greek territories then to china. In that time, saffron used for surface treatment of the precious papers but it is also used for writing ink and extended as additive to various writing inks for centuries later.
Saffron usage: Saffron applied vastly in food industries (confectionary, beverages and…) Despite various spices used from India and other places of the world but saffron has been as exceptional flavoring, strong dying agent and ultra aromatic substance. Some prefer to use less saffron since it is not cheap but others, specially the rich, use it in many cases. Saffron applied in cold and hot beverages as saffron sherbet, tea, milk and … moreover for cooking cakes, jams, dessert and many more foods like soup, chicken and meat meals and rice. In Middle East, without saffron as spice many foods cannot actually be cooked, to mention some of them as Tah-Chin with chicken while other traditional pies and Risotto and Pella in other places are based on saffron. In industry relevant to dyes as the color of saffron nearly to dark red and yellow so it is used in textile industry, for dying the silk cloths and carpet strings since contenting Safrenal substance and good aroma it is used in perfumery because of natural and tendency of the global customersfor natural elements.