What is it?
The spice we know as saffron are the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus Linnaeus flower, a plant in the Iris family.

This species is a perennial herbaceous plant, with a normal height of 10 to 25 cm, that has a corm (commonly called bulb or onion), from which the leaves and flowers sprout.  The flower is formed by three red coloured stigma or threads joined to the base of the flow by the stylus and the stamen, that are intense yellow.
In Spain, this plant flowers in the second fortnight of October and the flowers must be harvested daily for a fortnight due to their extreme fragility. 

The flowers or roses are deposited in baskets that conserve all their properties intact. On the same day they are collected, they are transferred to the farmers’ warehouses, where the stigmas are extracted from the flowers by hand. That process is known as peeling. 

At the end of the day, the saffron must be dried to conserve its quality, an operation known as toasting, that is usually performed using hot air.   

The characteristic components of saffron are: 
  - crocin, a carotenoid responsible for the yellow colouring.
  - picrocrocin, responsible for the characteristic taste of the spice.
  - safranal, a volatile compound that gives its unique aroma.

Standard ISO 3632 defines the quality of the saffron based on the chemical and physical characteristics of the spice, defining three categories according to the crocin content (colouring power), picrocrocin and safranal, as well as other parameters, such as humidity, ash, absence of floral remains and foreign bodies. 

Guide saffron

Paprika is the product obtained from milling fully red peppers, of stains in the “Ocales” group (Jaranda, Jariza and Jeromín), and of the Bola strain, of the species Capsicum anuum L. and Capsicum longum L.

The peppers must be collected ripe, healthy, clean, free of infestation or disease, dried by the traditional system, and from the specified production zone in the West of Spain. 

The combination of the different species of peppers gives rise to the three existing strains of La Vera Paprika: sweet, sweet and sour and spicy.  

The traditional drying system is a very laborious task. Dehydration is performed on drying racks, with indirect smoke flow from burning scrub and Holm oak wood obtained from pruning waste. The process is similar to that used for other smoked food and provides a highly stable colour.  The characteristic smoked aroma is thus not from any additive. 

The main active principle of paprika is capsantin, a carotenoid responsible for its red colouring. The most frequently used quality standards of paprika are those set by ASTA that define colouring power as its main characteristic.

Guide paprika

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