Not to be confused with the garden crocus which flowers in the spring, saffron threads come only from the crocus sativus which flowers in the autumn.
Little has changed over the years. Delicate hands must extract the three threads from the lilac flower before it has fully opened. Machines can’t pinch off the less important orange part of the stigma, this has to be done by hand. Women working and living in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon carry out this work on the day of the harvest. If you’d like to read more, we’ve added a saffron shorkk story.
Saffron was brought to Europe during the Arab conquest of Spain in 960AD. Although it’s not commonly used in Lebanese dishes, many look to as a source of inspiration. Perhaps this spice might provide those who live in rural farming communities in the Bekaa valley with some form of economic salvation as the country plunges into economic catastrophe.
only a pinch
With a pair of tweezers, remove a “pinch” from the jar. As this saffron is particularly aromatic, using a tiny amount of saffron, particularly if it is ground and infused before use, goes a long way. It is a spice, after all. Its distinctive aroma in a risotto alla Milanese is bewitching. Added to the glaze on top of a pangiallo to celebrate the end of the long days and the arrival of the light, is a fitting culinary context for this beautiful spice.
life after saffron?
Rather than throwing this beautiful glass jar away, why not use it as a vase for early spring flowers? This size of jar works so well for snowdrops, primroses or violets.