The Best Everyday Use for Saffron:
Make Saffron Tea - It's a great way to cheer yourself up as saffron is known to reduce melancholy, the tea tastes rich, sweet and delicious, Liquid Sunshine!
Simply soak 3 or 4 strands of saffron in a mug with a splash of warm water for at least 10 minutes.
Pour over boiling water then add honey to taste
Sweet, rich, honey, grassy hay-like flavour and luminous yellow-orange colour, there is really something unearthly about Saffron.
Stigmas from the Saffron Crocus are hand-picked and then dried. With 1 lb of saffron requiring around 50-75000 crocus flowers, it's extremely labour intensive which is why we pay what we do. The crocus only flower for a couple of weeks in autumn which leaves little time in which it can be collected. Contrary to belief, gold is worth almost ten times as much as saffron per kilo at the time of writing.
Spain is the largest exporter of saffron but it was first cultivated in Greece where the saffron crocus appears in Greek Mythology. One story is that Krokus was a moral flower-boy befriended by Hermes who by rough play inflicted a mortal wound on Krokus, and where his blood fell, a crocus flower grew with the stamen retaining the colour of his blood.
Being sterile, the plant has only been able to be spread by human hand and it is still not known how it was taken from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia several thousand years ago (until recently it was thought its origins began in western and central asia but botanical studies have since shown otherwise).
The Kashmir Saffron that we stock is one of the finest saffron varieties available. Every producing country claims the title of the best quality saffron but none matches the deep crimson colour and mysterious, sweet, lingering honeyed flavour of saffron from Kashmir. A good guide to the quality of your saffron is to look for areas of white or yellow on the stamen which doesn't contribute any flavour or colour to the finished dish.
Saffron Walden in Essex is named for saffron which was widely grown in England during the 16th and 17th centuries. You can grow your own saffron in England, but with only 3 stamens per plant, would probably need at least 10 plants to make a single paella so it's pretty hard work!
Soak the saffron threads in a splash of warm water for at least 30 minutes if possible, crushing the strands of saffron slightly to allow the full colour and flavour to leach out, and then add this water including the soaked saffron threads to the dish. Adding raw saffron to a boiling liquid will not result in the same full-bodied flavour and colour.