Saffron is the dried stigma of the saffron crocus, a beautiful little autumn-flowering crocus. Harvested since 500 BCE, saffron has always been a luxury spice. No surprise, when it takes about 150,000 flowers to produce a kilo of saffron! We can get New Zealand grown saffron for $12.50/g (that’s about $350/oz), but we rarely buy it.
A few years ago, we were given half a dozen saffron crocus bulbs, and these provide most of the saffron we use—enough for a couple of meals each year. The flowers bloom in April, and last only a day or two, so it’s easy to miss. The threads need to dry before storage, and then we’ll begin to plan the sunny yellow meals we will make with it.