Saffron, golden flower

This article is also available in: Italiano

A new spice reaches our table and this time it is a real “golden flower”. Saffron is still one of the most precious and well-known ingredients in the world both for its aroma and for the famous yellow color, adored since the dawn of time.

From the dawn of time

Saffron is one of the best known and most sought after spices in the history of mankind, with documents attesting to its cultivation since the dawn of time. For this reason, the original wild species of this plant, whose history is still debated, is still unknown. The name “saffron”, common in many languages, however, makes us suppose that its history begins in the Near East, in an area between Mesopotamia and Persia. This term seems to derive from the Arabic term زَعْفَرَان za’faran, in turn deriving from the Persian zaafara and which means “flower with golden petals”.


Also very interesting is the origin of the Latin name, crocus, which has deep relationships with the name “turmeric”. Furthermore, its existence was already documented in a Babylonian botanical treatise of 700 BC.

The most expensive spice in the world

Given its incredible difficulty of extraction and the number of flowers needed, saffron has always been considered a real “golden spice”, with prices that are around peacefully around € 12,000 per kg. The precious ingredient is in fact obtained from the stigmas of the flower, which must be collected by hand and in a very short time given the short flowering. Furthermore, by producing 90% of all world saffron, Iran’s recent geopolitical scenarios have contributed to its definitive price jump.


Factors that did not discourage his admirers, however, making the analogy between coloring and plant even more evident, always legendary. This spice has in fact always been used as a coloring of the divine, so much so that in much of Asia it is used daily in temples and during particular rituals.

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