Reddish-orange in colour, saffron threads impart the most beautiful golden hue and sweet-savory flavour to many a dish. Saffron is produced from the saffron crocus flower (Crocus sativus). It is actually the dried stigmas (which are the insides of a flower that catch pollen) of the flower. The stigmas can only be picked by hand as machines are not delicate enough. Its value has been kept permanently high by labour-intensive harvesting methods that require around 500 stigmas from 160 flowers to produce 1 gram of saffron threads. Saffron is valuable for its deep auburn colour and sweet flavour, as well as medicinal properties. Saffron contains several plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties. Just a pinch of fresh saffron is enough to enhance the flavour and colour of the entire recipe. Make a saffron infusion by adding a small amount of pre-heated liquid to the container or mortar, then allow at least 20 minutes for the colour and flavour to infuse out.
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