Saffron is the most precious spice in the world. It is derived from the saffron crocus, "Crocus sativus". The saffron crocus has purple flowers whose stigmas are collected to produce saffron. The flowers bloom only once a year, in the fall.

Saffron is also the most expensive spice, it has been nicknamed “red gold”. The labour intensive hand picking and processing of the saffron crocuses contribute to the price. The blossoms must be hand-picked daily, often more than once, during their fall flowering period. The pistil’s three stigmas, which are 3 to 4 cm in length, are detached from the petals, sorted and then dried immediately following harvest. Due to their fragile nature, they must be delicately removed by hand.

Not only is saffron used as seasoning in many different parts of the world, it acts as colouring agent in food to reflect a beautiful golden yellow hue. It is also used medicinal and cosmetic purposes and, more traditionally, for dying textiles such as the robes of Buddhist monks.

Once our saffron has been harvested and immediately processed in the fall, it is then left to “age” like a good quality wine. We have created a collection of recipes for you to peruse as you dream of preparing dishes that include 100% pure locally grown saffron!

Read our story by the CBC: “Golden harvest no get-rich-quick scheme for Wakefield woman”, April 2017.

Recipes

Saffron adds depth and breadth to a large variety of dishes from sweet to savoury. We have compiled a few recipes below. Remember, a little saffron goes a long way. The key is to soak the dried saffron at least four hours before cooking with it to draw out its essence.

It is also important to store it in an airtight container and away from direct light. In this way, saffron can be kept up to three or four years.