Saffron Golden Spice
Saffron describes such a description not only for the bright yellow or orange color, which gives the dish its distinct look, but also because of its price, allowing this spice to be called the world's most expensive spice. And most counterfeited spice, as well. It takes 150,000 hand picked crocuses blooms to produce 35 ounces of spice. The largest crocus plantations are in Iran. It produces about 80 percent of world's need of saffron. Saffron is also being produced in India, Spain and Greece. Some small gourmet shops have saffron available for purchase from New Zealand, France and Switzerland and even US
Historians and biologists decided to prepare saffron documents of origin, the first record of it was found in the current Iraqi territory. Saffron-based pigments have been found on 50 000 years old paintings depicting wild animals. Alexander the Great used saffron for various sauces with rice dishes during his contract of Asia campaign 3500 BC. He also used saffron in baths, to treat battle wounds. Around the same time Chinese medical expert Wan Zhen wrote that saffron is the homeland of Kashmir, where people used it as a sacrifice for Buddha. People there used to dry crocses blooms for few days and then produced saffron, valued for its yellow coloring feature. In addition, it was used for flavoring wine.
Perfume manufacturers in Egypt, doctors in Gaza, and Greek goddesses used saffron to produce perfumes, oils, photographed mixtures of dried plants, face painting, to sacrifice it to the gods and to treat a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. It was even sprinkled into bed sheets to boost energy and vitality. It was also being added to herb teas as a cure for melancholy.
There are medieval documents stating that counterfeiters were punished to death for saffron falsification. Today, the usual methods of counterfeiting saffron are mixing it with beet, pomegranate fibers, red-colored silk threads or tasteless and odorless parts of crocuses. Other options are immersing the saffron threads into honey or oil. Soaked saffron gain more weight. In fact powdered saffron is being counterfeited most often. Spices like curcuma, marigold petals, yellow peppers, and other "thinners" are being used. Selling saffron without labels is another deception as it will usually be the saffron mixture of inferior quality, presented as the highest quality flavor.
The king of culinary
Even saffron it self does not have a pleasant taste, saffron greatly emphasizes the characteristics of dishes and give them a nice color. It is regularly being used in Iranian, Central Asian, Indian, Turkish, and Moroccan cuisines. In Spain, Italy and France, it is being added to soups, sauces, fish and rice dishes. United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries use saffron then baking biscuits, pastries and cakes. Only tiny pinch of golden spice is needed for dish. Too much of saffron makes dishes bitter. It is recommended to soak saffron in warm water before using it so it improves its features. For the preparation of baked goods, saffron is being mixed with dough. Then cooking other dishes, saffron is added few minutes before the end of cooking.