What Is Saffron?

Saffron is a spice and is obtained from the flower stigmas of the crocus plant of the same name. Its yellow color and its intensely aromatic fragrance are characteristic of the “culinary gold”.

Interesting facts about saffron

The origin of saffron is originally on the Greek island of Crete. The noble spice spread quickly in the days of the ancient Egyptians and was considered extremely valuable even then. Because of its yellow color, saffron was particularly associated with Greek and Babylonian rulers, since yellow was considered the sacred color of the rulers at the time. Today, saffron is mainly grown and harvested in Iran, Kashmir, and the Mediterranean. Mid-October is the saffron harvest time. However, harvesting has to happen quickly as it is only possible at the beginning of the two to three-week flowering period for good filament quality.

Shopping and cooking tips for saffron

The taste and smell of saffron are typically very different. While the fragrance is characterized by its intense, rather flowery aroma, the spicy-tart note dominates the taste. Be careful with the saffron, as too much saffron can make your dish bitter. Also, do not overcook saffron to preserve the aromatic scent. A great easy recipe is the saffron risotto, where you only cook the red threads for about 12 to 15 minutes. If you would like to do justice to the specialty of saffron and serve it as elegantly as in a restaurant, try our recipe for sweet pears with saffron or delicious salmon slices with saffron. Saffron tea is a popular drink in oriental countries – it is said to have a mood-enhancing effect.

Storage and durability

Protect saffron from light and moisture when storing. The red threads are best stored in a dark place in airtight metal or glass jars. The spice loses neither color nor aroma and can be kept for up to three years even when opened.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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