Origin: from Persia (Iran)
For thousands of years, saffron has held the title of world’s most valuable spice. Saffron threads are renowned for their unique, pungent flavour and difficulty of production. Our Iranian saffron is the highest quality available, sold as whole threads rather than ground-up powder.
Each saffron thread measures 2.5-4 cm.
Saffron Thread vs. Saffron Powder
Saffron thread is better at retaining its flavor than saffron powder, which loses potency over time. Since inexpensive powder blends labeled “saffron” may be mixed with other spices, it is important to check that the saffron is pure when buying it in powdered form. In recipes that call for saffron, use twice the amount of saffron threads as you would powder. Threads should be toasted or pre-soaked in hot water to bring out their flavour and colour before cooking with them.
The saffron crocus is a vibrant, purple flower, with three bright-red/orange saffron threads in the center of the petals. These threads are slender and delicate, and must be picked by hand. One ounce of saffron contains over 13,000 of these threads, and an entire acre filled with saffron crocuses can produce only ten pounds a year of the spice.
Given the difficulties of growing and producing saffron, civilization must have had a good reason to cultivate the spice over the last three thousand years. Saffron was used throughout the ancient world as a spice, perfume, cosmetic, tea, textile, ritual offering, medicine, aphrodisiac, and dye. Famous saffron-users include Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, and the spice is mentioned in Song of Songs.
Flavors and Uses
Saffron is used in many culinary traditions around the world. It is the titular ingredient of saffron rice, in which the saffron colors the rice yellow, and saffron tea, a popular, dark-red brew. Paella, the famous Spanish dish, is almost always made with saffron, and the spice is widely used in Indian cuisine. Saffron’s famous flavor has been described as hay-like or honey-like.
Because of its intense flavor, and strong dying properties, very little saffron is required for culinary purposes and the key is to distribute it evenly throughout the dish being prepared. Many soak the saffron in liquid to create an infusion, although some will add the threads directly to a dish after crumbling to a powder.
Store in a cool dry place for up to 1 year. Refrigeration is not needed.