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Alphabe Thursday S is for Saffron

March 27, 2014

Saffron is a spice comes from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. Crocus is a genus in the family Iridaceae. It grows to about 30 cm. and bears about four blooms each with a bright red stima; which are the distal end of a carpel. The stigmas are collected and dried and used for seasoning food and as a dye. Saffron is considered to be among one of the the world’s costliest spices. It is native to Greece and Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece.   

It was a medieval pilgrim who bought the saffron corms to Essex on his way back from the Holy Land in his hat.  They were a welcome commodity; as Britons were now trying exotic spices bought from the South-East Asia. Although most people were still not using such delights because they were very expensive cooks in the big houses were enjoying cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Saffron was also used during this time as a cheap alternative to gold leaf when painting the illuminated manuscripts. A poor artist put a few threads of saffron in a dish with some beaten egg white to infuse until the the mixture became like the yoke of the egg. The ‘colour’ didn’t have lasting power so it was not popular as dye; it was used most frequently mixed with other pigments such as verdigris (blue)  to make a perfect grass green.

 

alphabet thursday

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2014 2:23 pm

    Beautiful macro shot of gorgeous flower ~ great for S ~ xxx

    artmusedog and carol

  2. March 27, 2014 10:42 pm

    Oh I love saffron. It’s hard to get in my city, I have to travel for it to the Indian market. It is very expensive for so little too, but am stunned by how much a little goes into a long way.

  3. March 28, 2014 1:46 am

    it must have been something, picking the stigmas off the flowers. I always think it’s interesting about the way people made dyes! {:-D

    • March 28, 2014 7:52 am

      I am sure I might steal a few!! But I suppose I would be punished much like someone who stole a nugget of gold, So perhaps not!

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