Saffron (Crocus sativus)

Other Names: Kesar, Autumn Crocus, Hay Saffron, Crocus, Gatinais Saffron

Medicinal Uses: Menstrual condition, Antispasmodic, Flatulence, Sedative, Menstrual disorders
 
Saffron (herb)  Dried flower stigmas of a. member of the crocus family. By the pound, our most expensive spice, but a pinch does so much flavoring and coloring that it is not prohibitive.
 
It takes 75,000 blossoms or 225,000 hand-picked stigmas to make a single pound which explains why it is the world’s most expensive spice. Available as threads (whole stigmas) or powder.  Pungent, bitter flavor.  Most specialty food shops carry saffron, though if it has sat on the shelves for too long it may have lost flavor, so look for bright color. Saffron appears in Moorish, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Its most common function is to color rice yellow, as in festive Indian pilaus and risotto Milanese, where its delicate flavor make it the most famous of Italian rice dishes. It combines well with fish and seafood, infamous as a key ingredient of Spanish paella as well as bouillabaisse. In England, saffron is probably best known for its use in Cornish saffron buns where it is paired with dried fruit in a yeast cake. Because of its expense, 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. Use for bouillabaisse, curries, fish, poultry and rice.
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