Dubai’s spice souk is famous for selling saffron. Walking towards the souk in Deira, several shops specialising in saffron, line the pavement. Some are wholly for saffron, others sell all sorts of different spice and honey items.
Saffron (pronounced /ˈsæfrən/ or /ˈsæfrɒn/) is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”.
Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. The styles and stigmas, called threads, are collected and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food.
Saffron, long among the world’s most costly spices by weight, is native to Southwest Asia and was probably first cultivated in or near Greece.
Most of the saffron sold in the spice souk comes from Iran and is classified into various grades depending on the quality and strength.
Strength is related to several factors including the amount of style picked along with the red stigma. Age of the saffron is also a factor. More style included means the saffron is less strong gram for gram, because the colour and flavour are concentrated in the red stigmata.
Saffron from Iran, Spain and Kashmir is classified into various grades according to the relative amounts of red stigma and yellow styles it contains.
Grades of Iranian saffron are: “sargol” (red stigma tips only, strongest grade), “pushal” or “pushali” (red stigmata plus some yellow style, lower strength), “bunch” saffron (red stigmata plus large amount of yellow style, presented in a tiny bundle like a miniature wheatsheaf) and “konge” (yellow style only, claimed to have aroma but with very little, if any, colouring potential).
(Wiki helped with some of the saffron information)