Most saffron is grown in the tropics in the form of the spice turmeric, as well as its raw cousins in the form of green and dried varieties. The raw and dried versions are better known as cumin, but a large number of other strains are being used as well, including:
Saffron varieties that are commonly grown in India include:
Cinnamint (S. indica) – Saffron is a very low to intermediate level aromatic saffron. The spice is not especially well suited to the western market, but is widely grown. It is often grown as a fragrance, since it is low in fragrances.
Chamomile (S. hirsutum) – The spice is a very low to intermediate level aromatic saffron. It is very low in aroma, and is commonly grown commercially since the early part of the 20th century in the north of India. It is extremely good for tea.
Fennel (S. foenum spp.) – Saffron is another very low to intermediate level aromatic saffron. It has been used in India since ancient times.
Pineapple (S. canadensis) – This is the best known saffron variety. It is a relatively low to intermediate level aromatic saffron and is traditionally grown as a decorative plant for home decorating. The seeds are edible, and have a sweet, tangy flavor which has been considered a good source of vitamins A, C and E.
Dill (S. officinalis) – Saffron is a low to intermediate level aromatic saffron. It is a high quality flavor-generating spice, which many people feel would complement any dish that calls for the addition of herbaceous leaves.
Black Currant (S. chinensis) – A somewhat newer generation of saffron, used as a decorative spice.
Spicy Caraway (S. rubrum) – In recent years a new variety of saffron has become popular as an addition to curries, as a garnish, and for its culinary qualities. It has a high aromatic flavor, and is traditionally known for its use as a mild condiment in salads and dishes.
Spicy Basil (S. basilicum) – A low to intermediate-level aromatic saffron.
Spicy Cumin (S. indicum) – This is the spice of choice from Indian
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