Spices - Saffron
Saffron consists of the stigmas taken from the Crocus sativus or Saffron crocus, which grows best in warm, arid, and mountainous regions such as ours. The flowers are taken from the field in the early morning as soon as they open. The three stigmas (attached to the crocus by yellow filaments called styles) are then hand separated from the blossoms. It takes 450,000 stigmas (or 150,000 blossoms) to make a kilogram of saffron, placing saffron among the world’s most costly spices in regard to weight.
Saffron has been prized for its medicinal and aromatic qualities.
Its ethereal flavor perfectly enhances both sweet and savory dishes, and may be used when preparing everything from ice cream to paella. It improves memory, increases blood flow, lightens moods, reduces inflammation, and contains
many cancer fighting properties.
Care should be taken when purchasing this expensive spice. More than 80% of the saffron on the US market today is known to be adulterated and/or dyed, and some products labelled “100% real Spanish saffron threads” may actually contain 25-40% dyed corn silk threads or dyed safflower petals.