Saffron is the most valuable spice by weight, earning it the byname "The Red Gold". The dried, reddish stigmas of the saffron crocus Crocus Sativa are used.
The plant blooms in Autumn with crimson stigmas that are hand-picked and dried. It takes between 75,000 and 100,000 flowers to produce 1 kg of saffron.
Saffron has a very characteristic and exotic scent and a sweet taste resembling that of honey. The dried spice is a deep red which will turn in to an intense yellow when added to food.
Traditionally, saffron is used for dishes with rice, fish and shellfish, e.g., paella, risotto and French fish soup Bouillabaisse. It adds both taste and colour to the food. In addition, it may be used for cakes, cookies and candy.
Previously, saffron has been used for colouring textiles.