A rare, delicate, precious, wonderfully colorful and aromatic spice that has been traded, and used in recipes for over four millennia! A little goes a long way. Up your game!
Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world!
The “threads” of saffron are dried flower pistils, harvested by hand from the flower of a Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus.”
With only a few pistils per flower, it takes a lot of flowers to get a small vial of saffron!
Because of its cost, many volume producers of foods that once had saffron in their recipes use other colorant spices, like paprika, or annatto/achiote, but neither have the depth of flavor, or aroma, of true saffron.
It’s still used, in some countries, to dye garments, paper, and more.
This variety of saffron spice is mellow, sweet, and floral. The aroma is irreplaceable: Musky, honeyed, floral, bitter, and intense, it is the flavorant and color basis of paella, and many other Spanish dishes. You’ll find the perfume to be intoxicating. The flavor is penetratingly husky, earthy, with notes of honey and violet. The Spanish variety of saffron is by and far the most valued.
Native to Iran, it still produces 90% of the world’s supply of saffron.
Saffron’s earliest reference is in a 7th-century BC Assyrian study of botany called the Ashurbanipal. One of the top crops of the Persian Empire, it has been traded and used for over four millennia. Spain’s affinity for saffron began before the Arabic invasion of the Iberian peninsula, but it became a more common spice, as dishes that used it that are native to Persia, and North Africa, became more common.
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