Saffron has a strong aroma which is produced by certain special volatile oils and essences. The main aroma factor in saffron is safranal, which comprises about 60% of the volatile components of saffron.

In fresh saffron this substance exists as stable picrocrocin but as a result of heat and the passage of time it decomposes releasing the volatile aldehyde saffranal. safranal is a volatile liquid oil which produces a light yellow spot in water vapor and is readily soluble in ethanol, methanol and petroleam ether.

In order to extract the ethereal oils of saffron it is dissolved in pure water and distilled in a CO2 current. The distillate is separated with ether, which is then removed by heat. The oil obtained is a yellow liquid with a strong aroma of saffron. This substance is a terpen, which is highly susciptible to oxidization and must be stored under special conditions.

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