Not many people may be familiar with saffron but those who were able to experience the gastronomic delights brought by this spice may say that it indeed creates a good meal that usually comes at a price. Saffron is generally popular as something that we use to add flavour to food, but it can also be used in fragrances, dye, and medicines.
Saffron is one of the most precious spices in the world because of the way it is handled from farm to table. It originates from a purple flower called Crocus Sativus, popularly known as Saffron Crocus. This is grown and imported primarily from India, Morocco, Iran, and Greece, however, other European countries such as Spain, France, and Italy are now cultivating this spice, as this has become an essential part of some of their dishes, such as paella and bouillabaisse.
So what makes Saffron so expensive? Here’s why.
SAFFRON FLOWER HAS ONLY 3 STRANDS OF SAFFRON.
Saffron Crocus, the flower, only has three strands of saffron. It is actually the stigmata – the pollen-germinating part at the end of the red pistil, which is the female organ of the plant.
SAFFRON CROCUS ONLY BLOOMS FOR ONE WEEK EACH YEAR.
Yup! You heard it right. It only comes to bloom for one week every year. So you have to be very quick in catching it at the right time.
SAFFRON MUST BE HARVESTED BY HAND.
Saffron is so delicate it has to be harvested by hand.
SAFFRON MUST BE HARVESTED IN MID-MORNING.
It surely is special because you have to harvest saffron by hand in mid-morning while the flowers are still closed to protect the stigmata as they are very delicate.
SAFFRON IS DRIED TO PRESERVE ITS COLOR AND FLAVOUR.
Saffrons are dried depending on their use. If it will be used as a spice, it is critical to protect its flavour. But if used medicinally, the therapeutic compounds are important. Drying it without exposing it to high heat is very important.
75,000 SAFFRON FLOWERS ARE NEEDED TO MAKE ONE POUND OF SAFFRON SPICE.
Because you can only get three saffrons in each flower, you need to harvest – manually, from as many flowers as you can to produce the much-needed spice.
Can you imagine the entire tedious process only to elevate your culinary adventure? It makes you think twice about wasting that saffron spice on your mom’s cupboard or perhaps leaving that Spanish paella on your plate unfinished.
Indeed, saffron is quite special. However, this spice is not easy to find especially if you think about going to look for saffron for sale at a regular grocery store. But if you are in Australia and you want to get your hands on this wonderful spice with utmost convenience, visit this link!