From trees? Or from the earth?
The answer comes in two parts. First, the sap of saffron is a valuable fuel. It is used in the manufacture of various fertilisers and in traditional perfumes. Most importantly, saffron is a spice, that can be used as a flavor enhancer in many foods with a good amount of saltiness. The spices, although not all have the same taste, nevertheless, share one thing in common, they help to bind in order to enhance flavor, aroma and color.
In addition, saffron is a source of essential vitamins, minerals, proteins, vitamins A and E, as well as flavonoids. Saffron also contains many medicinal phytochemicals. There is no doubt that all these attributes make saffron an extremely valuable ingredient.
Secondly, many commercial seeds are harvested by hand, without machines. Seeds of saffron have a long shelf-life (about 3 months) and must be harvested regularly in order for the essential oils to be removed from the seeds. In fact, seeds of these spices cannot be harvested any longer. Once harvested, they can no longer be re-harvested. These seeds are usually harvested at least weekly and used in fragrances.
There are two types of saffron: white and red. The first comes from trees grown near villages and is white like saffron itself. Red saffron comes from trees grown in remote places and is darker than white saffron. The most commonly utilized tree for processing white saffron is the saffron aster, which grows around the Mediterranean and south-west Asia.
Saffron also has a natural healing activity, which is primarily used to treat skin irritations. Saffron also provides a good source of vitamins A, C, riboflavin and vitamin B12. The essential oil is made by drying the stems with warm steam and then adding water. The whole oil from these stems gets into the flower petals and gets transformed into a beautiful fragrant perfume.
This is one of a few fragrant herbs that can be used commercially, but some essential oil can also be obtained from dried herbs or tree saffron. Fragrance companies have begun to produce this oil as a replacement for synthetic aromatherapies. The fragrant, healing and aromatic properties of saffron are often attributed to its sap, making it suitable for a broad range of uses.
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