In many countries today we are witnessing a continuous increase in the production and variety of food products. This makes innovation and application of new technologies unavoidable. On the other hand, as a result and because of the modern industrial methods, the food chain has become much more complex, increasing the possibility of chemical contamination of food products. Modern applied research methods are an essential part of the technology to produce ready-and semi-ready-to-use saffron products of nutritious value in order to satisfy the potential needs of consumers.
Saffron is a natural organic colorant and unlike other plant colorants it is highly permanent and does not fade easily; in fact it is mainly used because of its high coloring power. Therefore it has many applications in water environments and its use in the food industry is quite economical.
For the above reasons, there is a day growing trend of using saffron in food technology and formulation of new saffron products such as: saffron dessert powder, saffron crème caramel powder, saffron beverage powder, saffron cake mix, saffron cream powder, saffron batter powder, different semi-ready to use saffron soups and different saffron spice mixtures.
Crocin, the key of using saffon
One of the most widely used natural colorants is crocin, sometimes called crocin yellow, which is a common food dye in the Far East. It is responsible for the colour of saffron, which is prepared from flowers of the crocus, Crocus sativus L., and it is also extracted from the fruits of the gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides Ellis. Alos, it is one of main carotenoids and pharmacologically active components of saffron.
Saffron has been a spice for a long time. Most of us use powdered or string saffron at home, and for saffron rice and saffron syrup. But the consumption of saffron in foods does not end there. Today, many sectors of the food industry use saffron to flavor and color their products. The usage of saffron are as follows:
1- Application of saffron in beverage and other beverage industries
One of the areas of use of saffron is in the production of beverages. The amount of saffron used in non-alcoholic beverages is usually 3 to 7 parts per million. Saffron is also used in the preparation of herbal syrups, including simple lemon and saffron syrups.
2- Application of saffron in confectionery and baking industries
Another use of saffron is in the confectionery industry. The amount of saffron used in confectionery is usually 10 parts per million. Saffron is used to color and flavor flour products, including cakes, bread.
“Saffron is the raw material of many products in the world”
3- Application of saffron in dairy industry
Saffron is also used in dairy products such as milk, cream, butter and ice cream. The amount of saffron used in ice cream is 3 to 7.5 parts per million.
4- Application of saffron in meat industry
Finally, the use of saffron in the meat industry can be mentioned. Saffron is used as an aromatic spice to color meat products such as sausages. Saffron is also used in the preparation of canned meat, especially chicken-based products. The amount of saffron used in meat is 260 parts per million.