Saffron (Crocus sativus L.) is known as a king of spices, that has been around since 5000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. His name was mentioned in the Bible. It has a unique aroma that determines the characteristic taste of traditional Spanish paella, Italian risotto, lamb and chicken dishes, French fish soup, Indian sweet sauces, and more dishes around the world. The saffron is intensely fragrant, with a slightly bitter taste. Here is some interesting saffron facts.
In culinary art, saffron has been used since the 10th century BC. It was a favorite spice of the Phoenicians whose merchants carried it on all their travels. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to perfume baths.
An interesting saffron facts is that in the 19th century, France was one of the world’s largest saffron producers. Nowadays, saffron is mostly produced in Iran, followed by Spain, India, Greece, Azerbaijan, and Italy. Many Iranians believe, that saffron in its pure form, acts as an antioxidant, eliminates depression, and is a culinary weapon against Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and eye decay.
Saffron is unique because it blooms only three weeks a year. And it blooms only three weeks a year. Difficult harvesting and production process make it more expensive than other spices. Fortunately, it takes a very small amount of saffron to give the aroma and color to the dish-only a quarter of a teaspoon will enrich the dish.
One saffron flower has only three pistils. Each flower must be picked, and every pistil must be removed manually. After that, pistils are dried and ground. All this should be done the same day the flower is picked, to keep the quality of the spice high. For just one kilo of saffron spice, you must pick around 200,000 flowers. That is why 1 kilo of saffron price can cost up to 4000 dollars. Because of saffron price, it is often called red gold.
Saffron is sold in very small amounts, usually dried or crumbled. When determining the quality of saffron, the most important is its coloring power of dishes.
Place with a lot of sun is ideal for cultivating the saffron. He does not require a lot of water. The most appreciated saffron is the one that grows in the northeast of Iran. Saffron is special in that it veins when most plants bloom. The right time to pick it is in October.
Due to its specific color, saffron is also used as a natural colorant in food technology and for medical purposes. It should be stored in a sealed container in a dark and cool place, and the shelf life of saffron is three years from the date of packing.
Here are some medicinal properties of saffron:
- Helps with depression and anxiety
- It has anti-cancer properties
- It regulates cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- It is a natural aphrodisiac
- Maintains eye health
- Relieves menstrual problems
- Helps with skin problems
- Increases vitality and strengthens immunity
Saffron is an expensive spice, but its benefits and the way it is produced justify the price.