The saffron (azafran in Spanish) that is grown in Castilla-La Mancha is considered to be the best in the world with the highest quality. Definitely one of a kind.
It is a spice that produced from the flower commonly called Rose of Saffron (Crocus sativus linnaeus).
The origin of saffron
The origin of the use of saffron is not known but one of the theories is that ir originally came from Minor Asia since it was a popular spice there even centuries before the Christ. It was the Moors who introduced saffran to Spain in 10th century.
Harvesting the saffron
This flower his harvest manually by people because the stigmas, that are the source of saffron, are very delicate. Therefore, this spice is very expensive because producers need 150 flowers to make one gram of saffron. Therefore, 1kg of saffron requires from 15000 to 25000 flowers. So in some parts of the world saffron is considered more valuable than gold and it is probably the most expensive spice in the world. As a result, nowadays 1kg of good quality saffron can cost up to 25000€. Even though it is possible to find saffron at a cheaper price, it is not the best quality and not the real one.
Saffron in gastronomy
Saffron is bright red in the flower, but makes dishes yellow. It is an important part of traditional Spanish dishes like paella, fabada and pote gallego. Saffron is even used in cakes, sweets or ice-creams.
Other uses of the saffron in history
also has a few significant medical features. Moors used to use this spice for anaesthetic reasons, Ancient Greece valued saffron for its aroma and used to use it in bathing, as well as for treating hangover and insomnia. Saffron is considered so important in India that it is often used in their religious rituals and Ayurvedic medicine.
Where to grow saffron
Saffron can’t be grown just anywhere; it needs hot and dry summers and cold winters. The land has to be flat, without trees, it has to maintain calcium carbonate and be dry. This is one of the reasons why Castilla-La Mancha is such a perfect place for producing saffron. And Consuegra, where the famous windmills are, is one of those beautiful towns.
Appellation of Origin: Azafran de la Mancha – Saffron from La Mancha
There are strict regulations for the saffron in this area helping to maintain the good name for its quality.