Spice of the Day - Saffron

1:01 AM

I'm starting a new thread on spices,since they benefit us in so many ways that we don't know about.
And I'm starting with Saffron,which is the most expensive spice.
Once I have enough recipes in here,I'll add them to each spice that is used in it.

Saffron



Saffron's aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods. Saffron is widely used in Iranian (Persian), Arab, Central Asian, European, Indian, Turkish, and Cornish cuisines.  

A pound (454 grams) of dry saffron requires 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of a football field's area of cultivation (110,000-170,000 flowers or two football fields for a kilogram). Some forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers. Stigmas are dried quickly upon extraction and (preferably) sealed in airtight containers. Saffron prices at wholesale and retail rates range from US$500 to US$5,000 per pound (US$1,100–11,000/kg). Vivid crimson colouring, slight moistness, elasticity, and lack of broken-off thread debris are all traits of fresh saffron.

In late Hellenistic Egypt, Cleopatra used saffron in her baths so that lovemaking would be more pleasurable. Egyptian healers used saffron as a treatment for all varieties of gastrointestinal ailments. Saffron was also used as a fabric dye in such Levant cities as Sidon and Tyre. Aulus Cornelius Celsus prescribes saffron in medicines for wounds, cough, colic, and scabies, and in the mithridatium.

Phoenicians then marketed Kashmiri saffron as a dye and a treatment for melancholy.Buddhist monks in India adopted saffron-coloured robes after the Gautama Buddha's death. However, the robes were not dyed with costly saffron but turmeric, a less expensive dye, or jackfruit. In Tamil it  is used to cure head ache, for painless labor etc.

Several saffron cultivars are grown worldwide. Spain's varieties, including the tradenames 'Spanish Superior' and 'Creme', are generally mellower in colour, flavour, and aroma; they are graded by government-imposed standards. Italian varieties are slightly more potent than Spanish, while the most intense varieties tend to be Iranian in origin. Westerners may face significant obstacles in obtaining saffron from India. For example, India has banned the export of high-grade saffron abroad.

Recipes:
Sholezard - Iranian Rice Pudding

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