About Saffron Spice used in Persian Food Recipes

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Saffron ~ Zahphron

Plant family:

Iridaceae (iris family)

Qualities:

Very intensively fragrant, slightly bitter in taste. By soaking saffron in warm water, one gets a bright yellow-orange solution.

Origins:

Saffron is cultivated from the Western Mediterranean (Spain) to India (Kashmir). Spain and Iran are the largest producers, accounting together for more than 80% of the world’s production.

Saffron, is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. The Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower, "Crocus Sativus Linneaus". Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of Saffron filaments, making it the world's most precious spice.

Properties and Applications:

Used in cooking to add color, aroma and taste to foods. It is a rich source of the B group of vitamins, especially riboflavin.

Used as a dyeing agent as far back as the prehistoric era.

As a medicinal plant, saffron has traditionally been considered an anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, and sedative The plant has been used as a folk remedy against scarlet fever, smallpox, colds, insomnia, asthma, tumors, and cancer.

Special Warning:

Saffron is reported to contain a poison of the central nervous system and kidneys that can prove fatal. Must not be eaten in large quantaties. Consult a trained herbalists before using saffron for medicinal purposes.

Read more about Saffron Queen of Spices