Ingredient of the week: Saffron


Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world , more expensive than gold, as harvesting it is so laborious. Each crocus yields just three stigmas, which have to be picked by hand, dissected and air-dried.


It takes up to 200 flowers to produce 1g of dried saffron, which can cost up to £10. Fortunately, a little goes a long way in terms of flavour and colour. Iran produces more than 90% of the world’s saffron, but since antiquity the precious crop has been cultivated in India, Morocco, Spain, Greece and Italy. During Tudor times it was grown in Britain, most successfully in the east, particularly Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex


Saffron Walden gets its name from association with the golden crocus. Now British saffron is making a comeback, and is again being grown in Norfolk and Essex.




Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. Saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmata, which are the distal end of a carpel.


Nutrition Facts

Amount Per
1 tsp (0.7 g)
1 tbsp (2.1 g)
100 grams
100 grams

Calories 310
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6 g 9%
Saturated fat 1.6 g 8%
Polyunsaturated fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 148 mg 6%
Potassium 1,724 mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 65 g 21%
Dietary fiber 3.9 g 15%
Protein 11 g 22%
Vitamin A 10% Vitamin C 134%
Calcium 11% Iron 61%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 50%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 66%



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