The Secret History of Spanish Saffron

The Secret History of Spanish Saffron

The King of Spices! The Golden Spice! The most expensive spice in the world!

All the above aptly describe the one and only- Saffron! Also known as 'Kesar' and 'Zafran' in India, Saffron is a premium spice produced in only a few regions in the world and is known for imparting 3 basic characteristics to any dish it is added- Colour, Flavour and Aroma.

While Iran is the largest producer of Saffron in the world and Spain ranks second in terms of volume, the quality of Spanish Saffron outranks the Iranian Saffron- owing to the stringent norms followed in processing of saffron stigmas. And that is precisely the reason why Spanish saffron is the rarest of the rare. Originating in the Mediterranean country of Spain, it possesses the highest quality among all kinds of saffron cultivated in the world!


Spanish Saffron in Ancient Times

Saffron is as old as time, having been used in trade for four millennia. It was first cultivated in Spain and the Middle-East and later introduced to the world by pilgrims, merchants and Knights. It is believed that Cleopatra used saffron in her baths for its cosmetic properties. Saffron was so rare and expensive that wars were fought and ships looted to acquire this precious spice. Since the earliest of times, saffron dried and preserved in the closet between layered sheets, has acted as a savings bank for rural families. Historically, the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal who lived in the 7th century recorded the health benefits of saffron in his botanical treatise.


Why is Spanish Saffron so special?

Called Azafrán in Spanish, it is set apart from saffron produced elsewhere by its bright crimson colour and explosive aroma. This highly aromatic saffron comes from the fields of La Mancha in central Spain- the land of Don Quixote, where the production takes place at family farms using traditional and artisanal cultivation. Gourmet travelers even go to the picturesque town of Consuegra in La Mancha during the Saffron Festival, a unique folkloric fete called “Festival de la Rosa del Azafrán” in late October.

Spanish Saffron is a highly revered variety of saffron. It is a very difficult spice to obtain and its cultivation process is extremely hard and labour intensive. Cultivated in late autumn each year, the "saffron rose" or crocus flowers bloom in the depth of night and an enchanting purple carpet of blooming flowers covers the fields. At the break of dawn, the cultivators rush to the fields for all the saffron crocuses must be gathered before dusk, lest they lose their flavor. The farmers carefully pluck the flowers between their index fingers and thumbs and bring them to women who separate the reddish stigma with blinding speed. The stigmas are then roasted on a sieve by gas burners in a very controlled temperature setting, else the strands will lose their aroma and become dry. It is interesting to note that about 200 crocus flowers are needed to obtain the single gram of saffron you get in our Naturesmith Spanish Saffron Sachets.

Saffron evokes affluence and elegance in any dish. It has a sweet pungent fragrance which infuses a variety of food items making it a versatile spice as well as a highly exclusive one. Apart from its use in various cuisines which gratifies our palates and sight, saffron also offers multifarious health benefits- it’s known to possess anticarcinogenic compounds, helps in BP control, provides relief from kidney disorders and more. The health benefits of saffron have even been documented in ancient Ayurveda and its wonderful effects on skin is also well known.

With its signature aroma and golden hue, Spanish saffron is a must in every gourmet kitchen! To buy this super spice, visit


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