Persian saffron is made from the red stigmas of the crocus flower. Each flower produces just about 3 stigmas and every saffron bulb produces only one flower. There are over 80,000 crocus flowers that are needed to be planted, grown, harvested by hand, and then managed in order to make up just one pound of Persian saffron.
This is one of Iran’s products that they are proudest of. It is one of the world’s most expensive spices. The reason behind this high price is that it can only be found in a handful of places in the world with the most coming from Iran. This is the reason that saffron has been given the nickname “the red gold”. Persian saffron has no other rival when it comes to flavor.
Reason for expense
It takes around 3 years from the time the crocus seeds are planted to make flowers. Because this process and products are completely natural, using this flower in order to get the gold is very hard and needs certain expertise. This is another big reason why this spice is so highly priced. To acquire the spice from the flower, the stigmas need to dry. The suitable way is to cut the fibrous threads from the flower and allow it to sun-dry. After that, you can use this spice for cooking.
Persian saffron only releases its flavor when it is mixed with water that is warm. It takes approximately 15 minutes for this process to start and the saffron threads then continue to release color and flavor for about 24 hours.
Apart from enhancing the flavors of many dishes, saffron also has some medical uses. It is especially effective in helping those having problems with sleep.