Saffron (Template:Pron-en) is a spice derived from the dried stigma of the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant's carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and coloring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world's most expensive spice by weight,[1][2] is native to Southwest Asia.[2][3] Saffron is known as 'Kasubha' in The Philippines, 'Kesar' in India, and 'Kong' in Kashmir, which is among the few places in the world where the spice grows.

Saffron is characterized by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal.[4][5] It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide. Saffron also has medicinal applications.

The word saffron originated from the 12th-century Old French term safran, which derives from the Latin word safranum. Safranum is also related to the Italian zafferano and Spanish azafrán.[6] Safranum comes from the Arabic word Template:ArabDIN (أَصْفَر‎), which means "yellow," via the Persian paronymous Template:ArabDIN (زَعْفَرَان‎).[5][7]

Sources and Citations Edit

  1. Template:Harvnb.
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Hill_272
  3. Template:Harvnb.
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  6. Template:Harvnb.
  7. Kumar V (2006). The Secret Benefits of Spices and Condiments. Sterling, 103. ISBN 1-8455-7585-7. Retrieved on 2007-12-01. 

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