Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It is made from the dried stigmas of a small purple crocus, which blooms for only three weeks in late fall. It takes about 50,000 flowers–about a third of a pound–to make one pound of saffron. The flowers are handpicked and dried in the sun, then packed into bags and shipped to countries like Spain, where they are sorted and graded. Finally, they are sold to importers and wholesalers and spice houses around the world.
Taste:Saffron has a penetrating aroma that immediately evokes the fall season. Its flavor is very warm and floral, with an earthy undertone; it tastes like it smells.
Texture:Saffron threads are very long and delicate. Their color ranges from pale yellow to dark orange, depending on how much moisture they have lost during processing. Saffron threads will dissolve easily in liquids but should not be crushed or ground in a blender or food processor; you want to retain their ability to release flavor while cooking.
New Uses:The distinctive flavor of saffron pairs well with lean fish such as cod and halibut; seafood such as scallops, mussels, shrimp,
The stigmas, or threads, are hand-plucked by the harvesters who, for this reason, are known as “hands.” They will be packed into crates and then sold to a middleman called an auctioneer. From there they will go to a wholesaler who then sells them on to spice dealers.
The saffron crocus flowers only once in its life, in autumn, and dies soon after. The stigmas must be picked within 24 hours of opening and then dried and stored for up to a year until required for use. They may be kept in cotton or linen bags, or in glass jars or other containers with airtight lids.
Before being used in cooking, the dried stigmas are known as threads; when saffron is dissolved in boiling water and sugar to make a drink it is called zarh; and when it is used as a dye it is called kesar.
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus. This plant bears four purple stigmas, which are the distal end of a carpel. These stigmas are dried and sold as threads or powder. Some people say that saffron is the world’s most expensive spice by weight, but this is false because saffron is diluted with other ingredients during processing.
Saffron originated in Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated on a large scale in Greece and then in Italy, where it was an important export product and the chief coloring agent in medieval and Renaissance Italian painting.
The intense yellow color of saffron stems from the orange-yellow carotenoid crocin, which imparts a golden hue to dishes and textiles. Saffron also contains more than 150 volatile and aroma-yielding compounds. The fragrance of saffron is due to the odorous chemicals picrocrocin and safranal.”
Saffron’s taste and fragrance is similar to honey and it has a bitter taste as well. Its rich, deep aroma adds flavour and aroma to food and drink.
Saffron’s appearance is similar to a thin, dried filament of yellowish-red colour. It has a strong penetrating aroma and an intense, bitter taste. A good quality saffron should, when moistened and rubbed between the fingers, stain them yellow.
Saffron is a spice obtained from the flower of Crocus sativus. The flower has three stigmas, which must be collected by hand; this is what makes saffron so expensive. A pound of dried saffron threads can cost more than $4,000.
Saffron was rediscovered by the ancient Persians and used to stain their fine silk textiles a rich golden color. The Greeks were also familiar with saffron and were selling it throughout the Mediterranean world by the fourth century B.C. It was also known to the ancient Indians and Chinese, but they did not use it as extensively as the Persians.
Saffron is the spice that gives food a distinctive deep yellow color. Saffron has been used since ancient times as a dye, and in medicine and perfume making. The dried stigmas of the saffron flower are used to make both kinds of saffron.
Saffron is probably native to Greece or Southwest Asia, or possibly both.**
Saffron has been found in the remains of some of the oldest settlements on earth, which date back as far as 7000 BC. Greeks and Romans used it as a perfume and dye. Saffron was also one of the most expensive spices in the world during its long history of use.
Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is made from the red stigmas of crocus flowers. Crocus plants must be hand-plucked, which means it takes about 70,000 stigmas to make a pound of saffron. That makes it more expensive than gold by weight.