According to a scientific study titled “Shelf-life Determination of Saffron Stigma” conducted by Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Iran , after 12 weeks of storage, the color strength had a noticeable decrease and the bitterness also decreased significantly, whereas the aroma increased.

The stability of saffron pigments is dependent on the storage conditions employed. Both increasing temperature and water activity exert a strong influence on the degradation kinetics, accelerating the rate of pigment decomposition. The coloring strength decreased more than 50% during 12 weeks in the samples kept at 40°C, whilst the samples kept at 20°C showed less than 20% reduction. The same result concluded for increasing of water activity from 0.32 to 0.75.

This may be related to the higher water solubility of saffron carotenoids than the other sources, resulted from a greater access of dissolved oxygen to the pigments. The pigment decomposition was greater for samples exposed to light than the sample kept in dark because the light acts as a catalyzer for the crocin degradation.

As Saffron is Natural Herb it is Advisable to keep it in Cap Closed Borosil Glass or Sterling Silver Containers to preserve its Medicinal Benefits. ( Away from Plastics & Do Not Refrigerate. )

In their book *La cuisine et le goût des épices*, spice gurus Ethné and Philippe de Vienne of www.epicesdecru.com say that saffron goes stale two years after harvest. The site also mentions that the Kashmir variety is the hardest to find and the finest of all.

                       
 
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