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Ingredients of Saffron

There are over 150 distinct and unique saffron flavors and it is these unique flavors which makes saffron the 'King of Spices'.

Saffron threads contain carotenoids and this is what makes up for 10 % of saffron threads mass. In addition to this, there are about 300 ingredients which are contained in a single thread of saffron. Yet some of these ingredients have not been isolated. In order to determine the ingredients contained, high pressure liquid chromatography will be in store.

One breakdown product of carotenoids is the dicarboxylic acid crocetin. The ester of crocetin, which is crocin, is the most important dye of saffron threads. However, the carotene dye is only second to the intense tone of the saffron stigmas.

The main flavor of saffron makes up 70 % of its mass. Other chemical compounds in saffron threads are 2, 4, 4-trimethyl 1, 3-cyclohexadiene-1-carbaldehyde. These compounds give saffron its sweet and aromatic flavor. On the other hand, it is the compound picrocrocin that gives it its bitter taste.

Saffron is very sensitive to certain pH levels, light and even oxygen. This is the main reason why saffron is stored in airtight containers.