Moroccan Saffron – 0.08 oz.
Saffron Spice – 0.08 oz/2.5 gr by Mustapha, Morocco.
The tiny threads of the stigmas from the violet crocus flower (Crocus sativus) is the precious commodity known as saffron, typically the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron is essential to the Moroccan kitchen where it is used frequently in both savory and sweet preparations.
Taliouine, between Ouarzazate and Agadir in central Morocco - in the valleys of the High Atlas Mountains - is Morocco's capital of saffron and in ancient times women collect the stigma from each flower - a long and painstaking process - from the wild flowers growing on the mountainside, and this is where Mustapha's saffron is collected. It is some of the most fragrant saffron available. Strongly perfumed, with an aroma of honey, it has a pungent bitter-honey flavor.
There are several hundred hectares of flowers grown on light chalky hillsides at an altitude of between 4000 - 6500 feet. Every September the bulbs are planted and come into flower towards the end of October when the harvesting begins. Harvesting is no easy job, the delicate procedure taking between fifteen and twenty days and only during the early hours of the morning before the flower heads open to the sun.
The stigmas are carefully removed, dried and stored in waterproof sacks, well away from direct light in order to preserve the quality and flavor. It is easy to understand the price of saffron once you realize that it takes on average 100,000 flowers to produce a single kilogram of saffron.
Saffron was brought to Morocco by the Arab conquerers on their way Spain. Today Morocco is one of the world's top producers of saffron, both in quality and in quantity. Much of the saffron produced in Morocco ends up in Spain for use by discerning chefs.
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