Since ancient times, saffron has been used as spice, a fragrance ingredient,as a dye and in herbal medicine, although today it is predominantly used as a natural food additive. The traditional culinary uses of saffron are in rice,chicken and fish dishes, as well as in pasta,bread and pastry, cheese and beverages.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice because of its unique properties and because of all labor that goes into producing it, more than 170,000 flowers make just 1 kg. of saffron. Its actually the dried stigmas of the Crocus sativus Linnaeus, which flower just once a year. every day during the one month harvest season around that starts around mid- October more than four hundred thousand people in Southern Khorasan get up before dawn to go to the fields and pick the beautiful delicate lilac, flowers that have bloomed overnight. They must be picked before being exposed to too much sunshine. The flowers are then carried in wicker baskets to the processing areas where the stigmas are patiently removed by hand.
The next step is to gently toast the stigmas in order to dry them before they are tested, sorted, packed and sealed, insuring that the full, unique and exquisite flavor, aroma and color of this “Gold” reach the consumer.