Saffron is the harvested stigma of the autumn crocus flower, also known as the saffron crocus. Each flower produces only three stigma at a time, meaning it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 flowers to produce just 1 pound of saffron spice.
The sargol and negin are the highest quality parts of the saffron stigma. These parts are the best portions due to the fact they they contain all the stigma’s stores of picrocin and safranal, the organic chemical compounds that make saffron such a unique ingredient. Picrocin is the compound that gives saffron its bitter taste. Safranal is compound responsible for saffron’s floral aroma.
Although Persian Sargol is considered as the premium saffron, there is another variation of Sargol . If three stigma threads are attached together and form a cluster, this type of is called Negin. Since production of Negin is an extremely delicate and precise manual skill, it is the most expensive type of saffron and very limited to offer. The ISO reading of Negin is usually more than 270.
Sargol (All Red)
This grade consists of ONLY dark red stigma tips and has the highest quality compared to the other types. Sargol is the pure saffron with no broken stand and has the ISO reading of 260-270. Due to accumulation of saffron`s active components in stimas, Persian Sargol has a very strong arom and rich coloring capacity.
Pushal is the stigma part of the plant attached to a 1-3 mm style end. According to ISO 3632 system, this type falls into grade II category that has a color reading of up to 250. Although Pushal does not have Sargol`s pure texture and premium quality, but some consumers prefer to purchase Iranian Pushal to be assured of validity and authenticity.
This grade is relatively low strength grade (ISO reading is 70 to 75) and consists of red stigmata plus large amount of yellow style, presented in a tiny bundle.
This grade consists of only yellow-white styles and has a very little aroma and coloring potential.