Saturday, February 20, 2016

Saffron

Do you like saffron?   The only saffron I’d ever had before going to Morocco was saffron rice which I’m sure I enjoyed but I had no knowledge about the harvesting or value of saffron until our trip.  
The farmer's field. Saffron (crocuses) grow underneath the almond trees.
During part of our travels we drove through an area where the argon trees grow. (And then you start seeing goats in the trees but that’s another story)!  Eventually we entered an area where there were also a lot of almond trees growing. Our guide asked us if we were interested in stopping for a cup of tea. 
A typical pouring of the tea - with showmanship
We stopped in a tiny farming community at a country store and our guide explained to us that we were in a farming community where they grow saffron.  We missed the harvest season by a week. At this small farm a group of seven women had already picked the flowers and harvested the saffron. When the flowers are ready to be picked they only have a couple of days to remove the saffron threads from the blossoms.
Can you see the small threads?

I love the purple color of the blossoms
Saffron is expensive.  In fact it is the world's most expensive spice.  One pound of saffron can cost as much as $5000 and tt takes approximately 150,000 flowers to yield a pound of saffron.  That is a lot of flowers! The little roadside store where we stopped for tea employees 7 neighbors to come help with the picking and harvesting of the spice so this is big business and an important part of this community's local economy.
Saffron for purchase
In addition to learning about the process of growing saffron the local farmer’s wife offered us saffron tea.  It was delicious and sweetened with local honey. 

I’m sure I enjoy many foods with a limited understanding of the efforts of farmers but in the future I’ll be a lot more excited about saffron when I see it on the menu. 

8 comments:

  1. I have a very small, very precious vial with real saffron in it. I use it for making Paella - it really does make a difference!
    What a beautiful day you must have had. I love the photo of the tea being poured.

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  2. I recall the first time I bought saffron and realized how expensive it was. It's like gold!
    We use saffron in various dishes and enjoy the flavor. It also adds a beautiful color to the dish. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  3. What an experience! I did not know saffron was such a small part of the flower. I was thinking like rose hips. I think of the person who originally noticed the uniqueness of such a small thing. Wow.

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  4. it sounds like a wonderful trip! I knew saffron was very expensive and now I can see why. I was gifted some many years ago and never opened the bottle because of that very reason...wonder if it's still good. Lovely pictures and lovely trip indeed.

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  5. Saffron is used here in Cornwall for making a type of fruit bun or cake, called, of course, Saffron cake/bun. It is delicious!

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  6. Saffron is so different and expensive. I just saw a baking show, where the bakers had to use Saffron in their recipes.
    come visit and say hello.

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  7. Very interesting. Sounds like a fun trip.

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  8. Like Pondside, I only use saffron for making paella. I wonder what saffron tea tastes like?

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