Saffron is a natural spice coming from the dried stigmas of the Crocus Sativus L. flower. The word saffron comes from Arabic Zahafarn, called before in Persian Safra and meaning yellow.
Originally, it was cultivated on Cilicia region, situated on southern current Turkey territory. The name of the city where it was first planted its Corycus, that’s why we call it today Crocus.
Since ancient times saffron cultivation and commerce has been present in all civilisations because it was highly appreciated. There are reports of its cultivation in Mesopotamia and Persia where it was used for painting, medicines, condiments, perfumes and aphrodisiac products. It was in Persia where it started to be used combined with rice and then extended to China and India.
Saffron was introduced in Spain by the arabs between VIII and X century and it was an essential ingredient on Hispanic-arab cuisine. It use was propagated to France and Germany and finally arrived to England on XIV century. It was cultivated in Spain, mainly on Castilian region and Spanish conquers tried to plant in New Spain, on the province of Tlaxcala, actual Mexico. There was an important saffron production in France on Gàtinais region but even more around SAFFRON Walden in Essex (England) where the quality of the product was excellent. Some prosperous commercial routes were stablished at these times.
It is enough just a pinch of saffron to give your dishes a distinct flavor and aroma. To give a rough indication, we must add 2-4 saffron threads per person and to cook Paella. We recommend adding 0.5 g saffron to 750 g of rice for around 10 portions.
Anyway, it is used on thousands of preparations like rice, pasta, paella, soups, stews, ice-creams sweets and coffee. It has also excellent properties being a natural product, that’s why it has been used since ancient times by oriental medicine. You can find a number of applications for it:
· Appetite stimulant.
· Eases digestión and alleviate colics.
· Fights agaisnt cough and bronchitis.
· Sedative, relieves insomnia
· Alleviate teeth pain on babies
· Helping agent on difficult pregnancies