Saffron is a spice that comes from the brightly coloured stigmas and forms of the crimson-flowering saffron crocus plant, Crocus sativus, that’s a member of the Iris family, Iridaceae. It is a perennial bulb native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor that lies dormant in iciness and spring. Linear leaves, perhaps a foot long, are gift for the duration of the summer season and the flower buds expand in autumn. The fall-blooming flora rise only a few inches off the floor. The blooms open to show six oval-formed, lilac to red petals, three golden-yellow stamens, and three styles at the top of thread-like stigmas. The pink-orange patterns and stigmas are harvested for the spice saffron.
Saffron is the maximum highly-priced spice in the world. It is to be had at grocery shops, but you could have to ask for it. Often it’s far kept at the back of the counter as opposed to on the cabinets due to the fact it is so steeply-priced and it comes in small packing containers. The best manner to reap the saffron is to select the stigmas and styles by means of hand. They’re then laid on trays to be dried over charcoal fires. Each crocus flower has only 3 inch-lengthy stigmas and it takes seventy-5 thousand crocus blooms to make one pound of saffron.
Saffron is to be had as a powder or within the herbal state, that are called threads. Either the threads or powder can be at once added to ingredients. Saffron is used as a seasoning, although it tastes sour, and as a coloring agent. More often saffron is introduced for the attractive golden-yellow shade it gives to a dish. Mediterranean and Oriental cuisines often use saffron in rice and fish dishes. English and European breads may also have a yellow coloration because of saffron. Other foods that use saffron encompass cakes, cookies, biscuits, Spanish paella, Moroccan couscous, Indian curries, and Pennsylvania Dutch hen and noodle dishes and soups.
To release the yellow coloration and taste of saffron it should be heated. Dissolve the powder or threads in a small quantity of liquid referred to as for within the recipe and steep for two mins. Add at once to the dish close to the cease of the cooking technique and strain out the threads, if desired.
Since historical times saffron has been used in cooking for its coloration and taste and as a dye. The ebook of Song of Solomon Saffron in the Holy Bible recollects saffron as a sweet-smelling herb. Robes of clergymen and royalty were dyed golden-yellow with saffron. When Emperor Nero came into the city of Rome the streets were sprinkled with saffron.
Today, saffron is cultivated basically in Iran, and to a miles lesser quantity in Spain, India, France, Greece, Sicily, Italy and Kashmir. Saffron may be adulterated with safflower, a yellow, orange or purple composite flower local to the Near East and Africa, annatto, paprika or turmeric powders.