Saffron in Iran – The Golden Flower that Captivates Tourists

Saffron in Iran

Saffron, the precious golden spice that has been treasured for centuries, is one of Iran’s most famous products. With its vibrant color and unique aroma, saffron has become an essential spice in Iranian cuisine and a symbol of Persian culture. Iran is one of the world’s largest producers of saffron, and its production dates back to over 3,000 years ago. Today, saffron is still a vital part of Iran’s economy and attracts numerous tourists who are eager to discover the secrets of this magical spice. In this article, we will explore why saffron is so important to Iran and why tourists always tend to buy it when they travel to this beautiful country.

The Rich History of Saffron in Iran

Saffron has been grown in Iran for thousands of years and has a rich history in Persian culture. It is believed that saffron was first introduced in Iran by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The spice quickly became popular due to its powerful aroma and brilliant color. During the Persian Empire, saffron was used as a fragrance, medicine, and as a seasoning in food. The spice was so highly regarded that it was often used as currency to pay taxes.

Today, Iran is the largest producer of saffron in the world, accounting for over 90% of the global production. Saffron is grown mainly in the eastern provinces of Khorasan, Kerman, and Fars, where the soil is perfect for producing this valuable spice. The harvest season starts in late October and lasts for just a few weeks, during which thousands of workers pick saffron flowers by hand.

Saffron iran
Photo by Vera De on Unsplash

Why saffron is so valuable?

Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world, and it takes a great deal of effort to produce. Each saffron flower produces only three stigmas, which must be carefully picked by hand. It takes roughly 150,000 flowers to produce just one kilogram of saffron, and each stigma must be removed by hand. This labor-intensive process makes saffron one of the most costly and valuable crops in the world.

Health Benefits of Saffron

Saffron is not only valuable for its unique taste and aroma, but it also has numerous health benefits. The spice is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with antioxidants. It is believed that saffron can improve mood, reduce symptoms of depression, and help with anxiety. In traditional Iranian medicine, saffron has been used for centuries to treat a range of conditions, including digestive disorders, asthma, and even cancer.

Why Tourists Love Saffron in Iran?

Tourists visiting Iran are always keen to explore the local markets and discover the unique products that Iran has to offer. Saffron is one of the most popular items that tourists purchase when they travel to Iran. They are often enchanted by the beautiful aroma, the vibrant color and the history of this magical spice.

Tourists visiting Iran can easily find saffron in local markets, and they can be sure that they are purchasing high-quality product. They can also learn about the unique Iranian traditions and history associated with saffron.

Saffron is often used in Iranian cuisine, and tourists can enjoy tasting local dishes that use saffron. Some examples of dishes that feature saffron are “Tahchin” (a rice dish), “Zereshk Polow” (barberry rice), and “Ghormeh Sabzi” (green herb stew).

Saffron Iran
Photo by Vera De on Unsplash

Is Saffron Cheap in Iran?

Despite its high price, many people wonder if saffron is cheap in Iran, given that it is the main producer of this spice. The answer to this question is not a simple one, as the price of saffron in Iran varies depending on several factors.

One of the main factors that affects the price of saffron in Iran is the quality of the saffron. Iran produces different grades of saffron, ranging from the highest quality “sargol” saffron to the lower quality “poushal” saffron. The higher the quality, the more expensive the saffron will be. Therefore, the price can vary significantly depending on the grade of the saffron.

Another factor that influences the price of saffron in Iran is the demand for the spice. Saffron is in high demand around the world, and Iran exports a significant amount of its saffron production. If the demand is high, the price of saffron in Iran can be more expensive than in other countries.

Moreover, the price of saffron in Iran is also affected by the local economy and exchange rates. The value of the currency fluctuates, and if the exchange rate is unfavorable, the price of saffron in Iran can be higher.

Things to Consider When Buying Saffron in Iran

Buying saffron in Iran can be a challenging task if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some crucial factors to consider when purchasing saffron in Iran.

Types of Saffron

Iranian saffron is available in three types, namely Negin, Sargol, and Pushal. Negin is the most expensive and premium-quality saffron as it contains only the red stigmas and no yellow parts. Sargol, on the other hand, includes the red stigmas without the yellow parts, while Pushal includes both the red stigmas and yellow parts. Depending on your preference, you can choose the best one that suits your cooking or medicinal needs.

Quality and Purity

When buying saffron in Iran, it’s essential to check the quality and purity of the product. It’s common for some sellers to mix saffron with other spices such as turmeric, paprika, and even plastic, to increase the weight and make a profit. Always buy saffron from reputable sellers and check for certification from recognized authorities.

Color and Aroma

The colour of saffron is an indication of its quality and purity. High-quality saffron should have a bright red-orange colour, and its aroma should be intense and pleasant. It’s advisable to check for these characteristics before making a purchase.


Saffron is an expensive spice, and the price varies depending on the quality and type. Be wary of sellers who offer saffron at unusually low prices as that may be a sign of poor quality or adulteration.


The packaging of saffron is crucial in maintaining its quality and preserving its aroma. Always opt for saffron that comes in airtight and light-resistant containers to prevent exposure to light and moisture.

In conclusion, saffron is a valuable spice that requires careful consideration when purchasing. Always buy saffron from reputable sellers, check for certification, quality, purity, color, aroma, packaging, and price to ensure that you get the best value for your money.

If you travel to Iran in a customized tour, you can ask your guide to help you find the best saffron providers in Iran. Check our Iran tours and travel packages and find your favorite one!


Saffron is one of the most treasured products in Iran and has a rich history that spans thousands of years. It has become synonymous with Persian culture and is a symbol of Iran’s tradition and heritage. With its numerous health benefits, unique taste, and vibrant color, saffron has captivated tourists who always tend to buy saffron when they travel to Iran. By exploring the history, production, and cultural significance of saffron, visitors to Iran can gain a deeper appreciation for this fascinating spice.

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