Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ingredient of the Day: Saffron

I have this brilliant Swede that works with me. She is sweet and bubbly and loves to cook. We work very hard to bridge the gaps between her cooking and my cooking, and we learn a lot from each other. One of her favorite cooking ingredients is saffron. The Swedish are extremely fond of using saffron in their cooking. Specifically, they use loads of it in December during the festival of St. Lucia.

Saffron actually comes from the stamens of the Crocus Sativus. This delicate flower cannot be grown in most parts of the world, and the tiny amounts that can be harvested from this flower are so small that supply of saffron never quite meets demand. Therefore, prices for saffron will always be high.

Zeus was said to sleep on a bed of saffron, and for good reason. Saffron tastes special and delicious. The world’s most expensive spice, saffron should be used sparingly, as its flavor is extremely robust.
Check in all this weeks for Saffron, tips and recipes.

Happy Cooking!

Illustration of a crocus from Carolus Clusius, Rariorum plantarum historia, Antwerp, Plantin, 1601, p. 203.

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