Saffron is an ancient spice known for its beautiful yellow colour and particular taste when cooked with other foods. Rich in flavour, golden coloured saffron is the most expensive spice in the world.
The Saffron plant or Crocus sativus originated in the middle east.
Today, saffron is produced worldwide and in some countries production of saffron has been the primary source of income to many families, grown on slight plots of land.
Some of the countries that produce saffron are Italy, Azerbaijan, Iran, Greece and Spain, where Spain is the world’s foremost exporter. And according to some, the best saffron comes from Spain, Iran, and Azerbaijan.
Saffron has been used in cooking for its authentic flavour; it can be prepared as a tea, for colouring foods, in the liqueur industry, for colouring carpets, traditional women’s costumes or hats.
Historically, saffron has been used not only in cooking but also as a medicine. The yellow colour saffron comes from crocetin, a powerful antioxidant and a blood pressure component. According to Vandana R. Sheth, saffron prevents the spread of liver cancer cells. Here are few other benefits when consuming saffron:
- As an antioxidant, it has anti-cancer properties
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts your immune system
- Blocks the inflammation associated with different kind of liver disorders
Saffron is a rare spice, and its production is a very long and expensive process. To produce a pound of spice, about 75, 000 flowers are required. Before reaching your shop, saffron stigmas are picked, separated and then dried.
Saffron can be added to savoury and sweet dishes as it has a slightly bitter perfumed taste. So, when using for cooking, you do not need much of this spice. The costliest of all spices, saffron, will give intense golden colour and delightful flavour to your dish, with just a few saffron threads.