Friday, March 5, 2010

Pic Today 3/5/10

A sure sign Spring is around the corner . . . .


Crocus are among the first flowers to greet us in early Spring . . . a sure sign of more blooms to come. But did you know the crocus flower gives us the most precious and expensive spice in the world???

It's SAFFRON that is harvested from the delicate red stigmas of a crocus flower, a variety known as crocus sativus. But this variety of crocus blooms in the fall, not the spring, and is just as colorful as our spring crocus bulbs blooming now.

There are 3 "threads" (stigmas) per flower bloom which must be hand harvested for this rare spice. It takes approximately 75,000 flowers (or 200,000 threads) to make ONE POUND of saffron . . . which has a market value of $5,000. (Luckily, a little goes a long way.)

Saffron is an essential flavoring and coloring agent in Spanish PAELLA (it gives the rice that rich yellow color), and has medicinal benefits of strengthening the heart, boosting one's mood and alleviating depression.

Just looking at spring crocus in bloom elevates my mood!

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