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Saffron - Grade 1 (Mongra)

We are often asked, how many types of Saffron are there?

Well, in Kashmir Saffron is marketed in three distinct forms and these are Mongra, Lacha and Guchi. The distinction of these three forms is primarily on how long the Style is attached to its Stigma (Style and Stigma are parts of a flower; Saffron is actually the Stigma of a Saffron flower, which is the distal end of the plant's carpel). There are three stigmas (filaments) in the middle of the Saffron flower, each of which is about 2 to 3 centimetres long and dark red. The deep red stigmas are further attached to the flower by pale filaments called styles. 

When the style is separated completely from its Stigma, we get dark red and silky, separated Stigmas and this is what is Mongra saffron. Or simply to say, when the Saffron flowers are picked, the style and stigma are separated from them, and the stigma is cut at a point where it is joint with the style resulting the dark red stigmas separated from the rest of its floral parts, and this is called Mongra, or Mogra SAFFRON in India; the same Saffron is called ZAFRAN-E-SAR-GOL, or saffron from the top of the flower, in Iran and “Coupe Saffron” in Spain.

Mongra Saffron contains ten per cent more pigment in comparison to other two marketed forms of Saffron (i.e. Lacha and Guchi Saffron) and is the most preferred forms of Saffron for commercial, personal or household use. 

The other form of Saffron is called Lacha, and this is made when the style is “partially separated” from its stigmas, leaving each red stigma with a centimetre or two centimetres of style attached to it – this gives it a double shade to the product, red at the top (Stigmatic portion) and tapering yellow end (part of attached style), and this is what is Lacha Saffron. And in Iran, this form of Saffron is called zafran-e-dasta (handled saffron).

Furthermore, when the full length of style is conserved, and there is no separation of styles from their corresponding Stigmas, and in other words, this marketed form of Saffron preserves the total filament (called Pistal (stigma + style)) of the Saffron flower - Red Stigmas, and long yellow style remain intact. And, these long Saffron threads (red and yellow) are made into a bunch, by twisting their lower tapering ends, which is what is called Guchi Saffron.

Although, the Guchi Saffron might have the total floral component, however, it is generally not desirable, since the real chemical compounds, Crocin, Picrocrocin and Safranal, remain solely in the red stigmas and it is the sigma only that is the most expensive part or so as to say, the spice itself are the stigmas  – which is what we have mentioned earlier is Mongra Saffron, Grade 1 saffron, and is the most desirable form of Saffron worldwide. 

Buying Mongra Saffron

Buying Mongra Saffron can be hard for the market – in most, most cases – is flooded with mixed, adulterated, dyed, product and getting the real deal isn’t that easy. Saffron is one of the products where the price is highly related to quality and for production of Super Quality saffron, in all stages from harvesting till packaging, enough care should be considered to apply the right practices.

At ABK house, we ensure that the post-harvest losses to quality of Saffron on account of the prolonged separation of stigmas, drying and packing are monitored and taken care of so that the Very Select Saffron with longer stigma length and shiny dark red colour with strong odour is delivered to you. 

According to the Condé Nast traveller magazine, Amin-Bin-Khalik (ABK) is a must-visit place to stock up for Fine Saffron and other dry fruits from Kashmir. At ABK we ensure you only the best quality Mongra Saffron - for the last 50 years and for the time ahead!

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