The Saffron plant is of singular beauty, with a short lived regal flower, a purple corolla providing a glorious backdrop to three, dark red stigmas in the centre.
Saffron, as well as being known for being reassuringly expensive, is packed with antioxidants. It’s derived from the dried stigmas of the Crocus Sativus flower and has a deep auburn colour and sweet flavour. The stigmas can only be picked by hand and it takes half a million stigmas to make just a kilo of saffron, hence its high price. Fortunately, a little saffron goes a long way. The most sought after variety is from north East Persia.
It is reputed to combat depression and lower blood pressure, to soften skin and hair and is a key ingredient in a broad range of dishes from Swedish buns to Spanish paella, to Persian rice dishes and Indian curries.
Cleopatra used it to infuse her bathwater.
Alexander the Great bathed his battle wounds with it and drank saffron tea (sustained ironically by Persian Swords).
How to check if saffron is genuine
- Check it has strands which are frayed at one end
- Look for a deep red hue that colours warm water orangey-yellow
- Smell it and put it on your tongue – Real saffron will smell slightly fruity with a heady floral aroma. It should taste sweet and bitter at the same time
5g Strands, 10g Strands, 10g Powdered