Valorisation of saffron (Crocus sativus) crop from Aragon region

A.M. Sánchez, C. Mallor, F. Escriu, V. González-García, N. Moratalla-López, A. Gracia
Saffron spice, the dry stigmas of Crocus sativus, is widely known for medicinal value and used in food due to its coloring, flavouring and aromatic properties. Aragon, in the northeast of Spain, was a traditional and important saffron production region. In the recent years, after a long-term decline of cultivation in Aragon, there has been a renewed interest in saffron as a sustainable high value agricultural product. The objective of this work is to contribute to Aragon’ saffron valorisation by the characterization of its quality, the study of the phytosanitary status of the crop and its impact on the quality, and the analysis of consumer attitudes toward saffron quality. Results gave evidence of the high quality of the saffron produced in Aragon, the losses of quality in the various stages from farmers’ production up to the commercialised packaged saffron, and a lack of quality classification and differentiation systems oriented to consumers. Saffron corm rots and decay of plants due basically to Fusarium fungi were the main phytosanitary problems identified that decreased the yield, whereas Potyvirus genus seemed to be associated with flower alterations that would not affect the quality of the saffron obtained according to ISO 3632 UV-vis spectrometric specifications. Aragon consumers’ knowledge and hedonic preferences for high-quality saffron were higher than for low-quality one. An increase of this knowledge could still be possible by providing information on saffron appearance, aroma, and properties. A shortage of consumer’s habit of using saffron was detected together with an occasional use for cooking at home. The availability of Aragon’s saffron in supermarkets and hypermarkets should be considered in valorisation actions since these were the main acquisition places of saffron for consumers. Conclusions of this study may be a starting point to develop actions contributing to adding value to the high-quality Aragon’s saffron.
Sánchez, A.M., Mallor, C., Escriu, F., González-García, V., Moratalla-López, N. and Gracia, A. (2020). Valorisation of saffron (Crocus sativus) crop from Aragon region. Acta Hortic. 1287, 429-440
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1287.55
quality, ISO 3632 standard, UV-vis spectrophotometry, phytosanitary status, fungi, potyvirus, consumer evaluation

Acta Horticulturae