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Saffron is the dried yellow stigmas of the violet flowers of Crocus sativus, a member of the Iris family. The stigmas must be harvested by hand, and it takes 225,000 of them to make one pound of saffron.

Indian Saffron Rice
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Uses

Saffron is mainly used as a colorant and flavoring for cheeses, pastry, rice, and seafood dishes. Saffron is used in spice blends for paella, curry, kheer, and bouillabaisse.

Origins

Saffron is native to the Mediterranean and is grown in Spain, France, Portugal, India, and Italy. Spain is considered the premium source of saffron. Its flavor is distinctive and agreeable in character.

Folklore

Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. The ancient Assyrians used saffron for medicinal purposes. The Greeks and Romans used it to perfume their luxurious baths. The bright orange-yellow color also made saffron useful as a dye.

Color

Rich yellow

Flavor & Aroma

Strong perfume and bitter honey-like taste

Sensory Profile

Saffron has a strong perfume and a bitter, honey-like flavor. The taste is pleasantly spicy and bitter and the odor is tenacious.

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Photo by catherine.drew

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