a precious spice cultivated for millennia and with a thousand uses!
Saffron is obtained from crocus sativus. The crocus genus includes perennial herbaceous plants with a cup-shaped flower.
The croucs sativus has a bulb called a “corm”.
Other bulbs are created from each one and this is how saffron multiplies.

The production process

To obtain the spice, the stigmas of the flower are collected, they are the red filaments responsible for collecting pollen with the function of promoting fertilization.
Later, these are dried so that they lose enough moisture not to rot, the weight is reduced by about 80%!
Flowering occurs between mid-October and early November.
The flowers appear very early in the morning and must be harvested within the first hours of the day so that they do not spoil and wither!

Therefore, growing saffron is not an easy task!

In addition to the harvesting phase, which is necessarily done manually, the bulbs are a delicious dish for mice and rabbits!
Furthermore, cultivation can be annual or multi-year.
In the first case, the bulbs are planted in late August, explanted in June/July and then replanted in late summer.
In the second case, the bulbs stay in the ground up to 5 years, but in this way the time saved will be used to keep the plantation clean from weeds!
Moreover, we should be aware that about 100.000 flowers are needed to obtain 1 kg of saffron. Now, we begin to understand why the spice has such a high price: up to € 30.000 per kg!

Saffron has been cultivated for thousands of years, the Phoenicians made it an object of trade in the Mediterranean and the Greeks and Romans used it as a cosmetic, as a dye and also in the kitchen!
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the spice almost disappeared in Europe and was reintroduced by the Arabs around the year 1000 starting from Spain and Sicily, then spreading to other regions of central Italy, which are the main producers of the red gold Made in Italy still today.
Iran produces 90% of saffron worldwide!

From an organoleptic point of view, saffron is characterized by a bitter note and a unique and very recognizable aroma.
Responsible for this aroma is the alchemy of some carotenoid molecules (which also give the spice its characteristic color) such as crocin, crocetin and picrocrocin. As it dries, the picrocrocin emitted by the damaged cells originates the safranal. It is exactly for this reason that the drying phase is fundamental!
The nutritional properties of saffron are in particular linked to its antioxidant properties, especially thanks to crocin.
Many studies also recognize it as an antidepressant!

All good reasons to prepare one of the traditional saffron dishes (risotto alla Milanese, paella, bouillabaisse, etc.) or to delight in inventing new dishes!

The hills of the Marche region...

are perfect for this type of cultivation which is well suited for clayey and fertile soils and the results, in terms of yield and quality of the pistils, are proof of this.


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