Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). A pound (454 grams) of dry saffron requires 50,000–75,000 flowers, the equivalent of a football field's area of cultivation (110,000-170,000 flowers or two football fields for a kilogram). Some forty hours of labour are needed to pick 150,000 flowers, making it the world’s most precious spice.
Saffron is the three stigmas of the saffron crocus. They are delicate and thread-like, each measuring 2.5 - 4 cm (1 -1.5 in). Its colour is a bright orange-red, and in high quality saffron this is uniform.
The name is from the Arabic word zafaran which means ‘yellow’. In India its colour is considered the epitome of beauty and is the official colour of Buddhist robes.
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