Crocus sativus – From the Persian Zarparan meaning ” flower with golden petals”. It is produced by hand picking and drying the crimson colored stigmas ( threads ).Each flower provides only three stigmas. The production of 12 gm (0.42 gms ) of saffron requires 2.2 lbs (1 Kg ) of flowers 0r 14,000 stigmas for 1 ounce of saffron. Making it the most expensive spice by weight.Prices range from $500 to $5000 US dollars per pound
A key ingredient in Paella and Bouillabaise , saffron is widely used in both savory and sweet dishes and it’s an indispensable pantry item in Persian,Arab,Indian and European kitchens.
Saffron’s taste and fragrance is aromatic and pungent with a metallic-honey taste. Its taste can also be described as grassy or hay -like.Its quality and strength varies greatly depending on numerous factors.Iran,Spain and Kashmir classify their saffron into grades with Spain having been granted PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) for its saffron produced in the region of La Mancha.
Purchasing : Available in both powdered and threads (whole stigmas).When purchasing look for crimson colored intact threads with a slight moistness .
Storage : Store in a cool, dark place.
Shelf Life : Up to 2 years .
Aloysia Citrodora Palau-Commonly known as Lemon Verbena or Beebrush.It’s a medicinal plant that belongs to the Verbena family Verbenaceae, native to SouthAmerica. Widely used to impart a lemon- like flavor to fish, poultry,marinades,desserts and beverages such as tea (tisane), mate and liquors.
Due to its high content of Melatonin Verbena has been clinically proven to alleviate insomnia and to have carminative,digestive, antispasmodic,sedative and muscle relaxant therapeutic properties .
Purchasing : Available in both fresh and dried.When purchasing look for long, slender green leaves.
Storage: Store fresh Verbena in a plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.Dry Verbena can be stored in a cool, dark place.
Shelf Life: Fresh Verbena up to 4 days.Dry Verbena 6 months.