Saffron (Crocus sativus)



Saffron is the dried red stigmas of the flower Crocus Sativus Linnaeus. It is a natural way of adding colour to cooking (may stain plastic). Use sparingly.

Did you know?

More than 75,000 crocus are needed to produce a pound (450g) of Saffron. The word ‘Saffron’ comes from the Arabic ‘Za'faran’ meaning yellow. Saffron Waldon in Essex was so named because of its cultivation of Saffron for over 400 years. The spice has always been expensive and, therefore, open to adulteration. In the Middle Ages, punishment for this crime was extreme. In 1444, a German named Findeker was ordered to be burned at the stake for adulterating Saffron. The use of Saffron in Cornish cooking is believed to have originated from trade with the Phoenicians for Cornish tin.


Saffron can easily be adulterated; there is no such thing as cheap Saffron. The stigmas should be a deep vibrant red colour and have a strong clinging aroma.


Crush the strands lightly and steep in a little warm water or milk before adding to the rice for paella or risottos. Transform mashed potato by adding a pinch of Saffron strands to the water when boiling. Drain, stir in crushed garlic and olive oil before mashing.

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