Even in the expensive world of spices, saffron stands out. Kashmir is famous for producing some of the highest quality of saffron in the world. Red soil is mostly found in Kashmir which is suitable for growing saffron because it is naturally fertilized. It only grows under very specific conditions, blooming for 1or 2 week in a year. Saffron is not a fast crop, it reproduces slowly. It is picked in the early morning, when the sun isn’t hard. Spain is the world’s largest producer of saffron. Saffron is used as a cooking spice and a clothing dye.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world because it is an extremely labor-intensive crop. Crocus sativa, or the saffron crocus, flower which has three tiny, threadlike stigmas in the center. Workers have to be quick to pick all the flowers, carefully not to hurt the flowers themselves. Stigma must be removed by hands carefully. No machine can do this delicate work. This is the biggest reason saffron has such a high price, It can take 40 hours of manual labor to produce just 1 kg of high-quality saffron. This is why saffron is so expensive.
The aroma and flavor of saffron is unique. It is floral, but not sweet. The taste of saffron depends on the rainfall, temperature, and soil. It’s taste is difficult to describe. It tastes slightly bitter, not sweet. It takes some 75,000 saffron flowers to make just one pound of spice. Most saffron these days comes from Iran (about 90%) and manual labor there is cheap.
Saffron needs to be kept in the dark, at a cool temperature in an air tight container upto 6 months. If it comes in contact of air, it will loses it’s color and flavor .
Identify Real saffron. Saffron is red in color, and if you want to identify if its real or not, you have to soak it in water for about ten minutes. If water turns yellow in color it is real. If you rub real saffron between your fingers, your skin will turn yellow/orange. If it’s not too expensive, there’s a good chance it is not real saffron. Be careful while buying saffron.
Benefits of saffron. Many people drink Saffron by mixing it with milk. It is rich in medicinal properties. It helps to combat depression and lowers blood pressure. Saffron has been used in traditional medicine to treat menstrual problems, and asthma.