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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

1. Is it safe to buy saffron online ?

Yes it is safe to buy from Saffrondust, however, we cannot speak for other websites.

Many online saffron retailers are based in other countries and/or buy low quality saffron in bulk, and then repackage it for resale.  You never know if your saffron has been adulterated with lower quality material or had food colouring added.  In medieval times it was a capital crime to sell adulterated saffron, today it is no longer the case.

At Saffrondust we only sell sargol quality branded Iranian saffron commercially packaged in Iran.  We stand by our quality with our money back guarantee, and all of our business details are displayed on our website so you know exactly who you are dealing with.

We accept Visa and Mastercard, Paypal, and Bank Transfer.  

Our credit card transactions are processed in Australian Dollars so you are not charged foreign currency fees.  

Our merchant facility is through St George Bank and our payment gateway is Netregistry.  Netregistry implements industry standard encryption technology to process all transactions, and your credit card information is never seen by us.  All transactions are processed on third party secure servers utilising secure encryption protocols.  

Check the address bar of your browser to ensure the prefix https:// and the lock symbol are showing on checkout.  This means that SSL security is active for the transaction.  We purchased and installed our own SSL certificate from Geotrust, you can see the Geotrust seal in the footer of our pages, and click on it to verify authenticity with Geotrust.



2. How can I be sure of your saffron quality ?

We know our products are the highest quality.  

We have been cooking with saffron since we were children being taught by our mother in the kitchen.  We only source the highest grade saffron from the top Iranian brands.  Saffron sold by Saffrondust is ISO 9000:2008 and ISO 22000:2005 certified by the manufacturer.

This is why we offer our money back guarantee.  We believe our customers are honest and our mission is 100% customer satisfaction.  

If you are not satisfied with our quality for any reason we will resupply or credit the order on your instruction.  Depending on the circumstances we might ask for you to return the product and we will credit the postage.  

If you simply change your mind we will accept returns of unopened packages within 7 days for full credit.  In this circumstance we would ask you to pay the return postage.


3. Why is saffron expensive ?

Saffron is the filament, or stigma, of the crocus sativus flower.

Crocus sativus does not grow from seeds and it does not grow wild.  It is propogated from bulbs which are cultivated in dedicated farms handed down from generation to generation, and the bulbs flower only once a year. 

When the crocus sativus plant flowers, saffron needs to be picked immediately between dawn and 10am to optimise quality.  

Saffron is picked by hand, there is no mechanical method of harvesting saffron.  It is a highly labour intensive process and this is a large factor in the cost.  Approximately 200,000 flowers are harvested by hand to make just one kilogram of saffron.

The price of saffron is highly variable as it is driven by demand and limited supply.  Close to nouruz (Persian New Year), saffron becomes much more expensive. 



4. Does saffron grade matter ?

Yes, it matters a lot.

Quality depends on exactly which part of the crocus sativus flower is used to make saffron.  Saffron grading is prescribed by ISO 3632 and there are 4 grades of saffron based on colour, taste, and fragrance.  Sarghol quality saffron sold by Saffrondust is grade 1 - the highest grade.

The highest quality sarghol grade means only the very tips of the crocus sativus filament are used, and the tips are innately red in colour.

Further down the filament, the colour turns yellow.  Technically, you can sell the yellow part of the filament and still call it saffron.

When making sarghol quality saffron, these yellow parts of the filament are discarded as waste.  The flowers also contain a number of yellow stamens.  These are also discarded as waste.  Saffron is never yellow and should not contain any yellow threads.

The yellow waste, however, has a value.  Other companies will buy the saffron waste, colour it with food colouring, and sell it as premium saffron.  The best way to tell is to soak the saffron in water.  

Poor quality saffron will leach its colour immediately in water due to the food colouring, and you will be left with orange yellow threads in the water.  Sarghol quality saffron will take some time to infuse into the water, and the threads will retain their red colour.

Yellow saffron has little aromatic quality, however, it will give your recipe the desired colour due to the added food colouring.


5. How much saffron should I use in a recipe ?

Most recipes require no more than a pinch of saffron for 4 servings.  Some recipes (eg.Paelle) require more.

A pinch equals about 20 threads of saffron.  There are 450-500 threads per gram of saffron.

Many recipes assume Spanish saffron which is much poorer quality.  If you are using Persian saffron purchased from Saffrondust, we recommend using less than the recipe requires otherwise you might overpower the flavour.

Remember, you can always add more, but you cant take it out once it is in.


7. How should I prepare saffron ?

There are two main methods of preparing saffron :

- Soaking

Saffron can be soaked in a range of liquids to dissolve the flavour and aroma.  Hot water is recommended; however, alcohol, milk, or vinegar will work just as well.  Use hot water rather than boiling water, and leave for at least 15-20 minutes for the saffron to infuse.  Soaking can be done with threads or powder.

- Powdering

Saffron can be ground to a powder in a grinder or with pestle and mortar; and can be added directly to a recipe without having to soak the safforn.

To get the best results from powdering, keep your saffron in the fridge.  This will give the saffron threads a crispness as well as keeping them dry, and will aid powdering.  Many Iranian cooks will add a sugar cube to absorb moisture and as a grinding agent.  

The video below gives an excellent demonstration on how to prepare saffron.  The presenter also toasts her saffron in this video to remove moisture and further aid grinding.





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