10 Fun Facts about Saffron
March 2, 2022
You’ve probably heard of saffron. Maybe even cooked with it if you could afford it! This yellow spice has a strong, earthy, hay-like fragrance and is most commonly used in Indian, Persian, Arabic or Turkish foods, typically a rice or risotto dish. Beyond culinary use, saffron has a fascinating history. Here are 10 fun facts about this unique spice!
- The name saffron is derived from Arabic, “zafaran,” meaning yellow.
- Saffron is a spice that comes from the stigma (delicate threads) of the purple flowers from the Crocus sativus plant.
- Each flower contains three stigmas that are laboriously handpicked and dried.
- Since there are no machines to remove the stigmas from the flower, this detailed, strenuous job is often given to elderly women.
- It takes about 70,000 crocus flowers to make just one pound of saffron spice.
- Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world and can cost over $300 per ounce or more than $5,000 per pound.
- Saffron has been used since ancient times when Romans bathed in saffron. It was even a cure for a hang-over.
- Merchants would sometimes add substances to saffron to increase their profitability. This was a crime in the Middle Ages punished by being buried alive.
- Historically saffron has been used in cooking, to dye clothes, as a perfume and herbal medicine.
- Saffron health benefits include mood, libido and ability to fight free radicals.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary.