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Old Dec 19, 2007, 5:29 AM   #1
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Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant's carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent.

Saffron, which has for decades been the world's most expensive spice by weight is native to Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece.

The word saffron originated from the 12th-century Old French term safran, which derives from the Latin word safranum. Safranum is also related to the Italian zafferano and Spanish azafrán. Safranum comes from the Arabic word asfar, which means "yellow" via the paronymous zaffaran, the name of the spice in Arabic.

Approximately 170,000 flowers are needed for one kilogram of dried saffron; typically, one would need 2000 square meter field area per kg harvest.

As a therapeutical plant, saffron it is considered an excellent stomach ailment and an antispasmodic, helps digestion and increases appetite. It is also relieves renal colic, reduces stomachaches and relieves tension. It is also considered that in small quantities it regulates women's menstruation, and helps conception. It is a fact that even since antiquity, crocus was attributed to have aphrodisiac properties. Crocus in general is an excellent stimulant!


World Production of Saffron, crop year 2003-2004

Iran ... 180 ..tons >> 94.73%
Greece ... 3 ..tons >> 1.58%
Spain .... 1 ..tons >> 0.53 %
Morocco .. 1 ..tons >> 0.53 %
India .... 2 ..tons >> 1.05 %

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron#_note-Katzer_2001
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 1:12 PM   #2
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Nice picture and interesting information. Thanks for posting this.
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