Saffron is a spice derived from the saffron crocus, Crocus sativus. It is the stigmas of the plant, the three crimson, thread-like structures within the flower. Saffron threads are hand-picked, contributing to the extremely high price per unit of weight. It is used as a spice for its flavoring and distinctive yellow-orange coloring.

Health considerations

Saffron contains multiple carotenoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Compounds within saffron have been associated with beneficial effects against multiple illnesses and disorders. However, given the minute quantity per thread and the limited use, due to high cost, effects from normal consumption are minimized.

Keep in mind

There are various grades of saffron and countries of origin; this affects its pricing.

May be found in

As an isolated spice, paella, saffron rice, saffron buns, Charteuse, izarra, strega, gulab jamun, kulfi, sweets, spiced Moroccan and South Asian dishes


Food Research International

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