Saffron
- Origin
Saffron is made of the dried stigmas of crocus. They are removed from the blooming crocus flowers and dried in the sun or in the oven. The process of saffron production is long and difficult. In order to make 100g of saffron, 4500 thousand stigmas are needed. It is not surprising that saffron used to be and still remains a very expensive spice. Throughout Middle Ages merchant were able to earn a fortune by exporting and selling saffron, because only rich people could afford buying saffron at the time.

- Flavour
Saffron has a bitter taste and bright yellow colour.

- Usage
It is usually sold in glass containers. In cookery saffron is used both as spice and colouring agent. It is often used in bakery. In the East and Southern Europe saffron is added to rice dishes, soups (mainly for colour) as well as lamb, beef and cauliflower. In French cuisine saffron is often used for fish dishes. In Spain saffron is an important ingredient of paella valenciana. It can also be used with seafood and combined with tomatoes and asparagus. In some countries saffron is put into tea and coffee.

- Amount
Saffron has to be used in very small amounts not because it is expensive, but because it is very strong. Excess of saffron can easily spoil the dish by making it too bitter. Moreover, several grams of saffron is a lethal dose for a human.

- Combinations and substitutes
Saffron works particularly well with tomatoes and asparagus.

- Storage
It is best to buy saffron in small quantities, because it turns pale, dries, becomes fragile and loses its scent very fast.

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