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Saffron also known as “Zafran” is a spice extracted by picking and drying the stamen from the flower of Crocus sativusalso known commonly as saffron crocus. They are mainly used for seasoning and coloring the food. While the majority of the world’s saffron comes from Iran they are also found in many other regions of the world.
By weight saffron costs more than gold, making it the most expensive spice in the world. Ancient Romans and Greeks used it as a perfume, and it has also been used to dye clothing.
Saffron's aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron also contributes a luminous yellow-orange coloring to foods. Saffron is widely used in Persian, Indian, European, and Arab cuisines. Confectioneries and liquors also often include saffron. Saffron is used in dishes ranging from the jeweled rice and khoresh of Iran, the Milanese risotto of Italy, the paella of Spain, the bouillabaisse of France, to the biryani with various meat accompaniments in South Asia. One of the most esteemed use for saffron is in the preparation of the Golden Ham, a precious dry-cured ham made with saffron from San Gimignano.
Common saffron substitutes include safflower (Carthamus tinctorius, which is often sold as "Portuguese saffron" or "açafrão"), annatto, and turmeric (Curcuma longa).
Saffron has a long history of use in traditional medicine. Saffron has also been used as a fabric dye, particularly in China and India, and in perfumery. It is used for religious purposes in India.
Dried saffron is 65% carbohydrates, 6% fat, 11% protein and 12% water. In a serving of one tablespoon (2 grams), manganese is present as 28% of the Daily Value, while other micronutrients have negligible content.
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