1 . Saffron, the bright orange-red stigmas of a small purple crocus, is the world's most expensive spice.
2 . Each flower provides only three stigmas, which must be handpicked, and it takes 14,000 to equal 1 ounce of saffron.
3 . There is no substitute for its exquisite flavor and earthy aroma.
4 . Powdered saffron loses its flavor more readily and can easily be adulterated with less expensive powders like turmeric, so purchase whole saffron threads.
5 . Store saffron in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
6 . To extract the flavor, place a pinch of saffron threads in a small bowl of hot water or stock. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.
7 . Saffron helps in the digestive process, and also helps regulate menstruation. Saffron is used as a coloring and flavoring agent because of its pungent color and aromatic flavor.
8 . The bitter properties of Saffron bestow it with tonical properties for the stomach and digestive properties, while the crocetia that it contains has a effect on reducing cholesterol.
9 . In Gynecology, it is sometimes recommended to help alleviate uncomfortable menstruation or the lack of menstruation; however, it must always be used with caution. Saffron also stimulates sweating and is sometimes used to help reduce fevers.10 . Saffron can also be used topically. It is one of the ingredients used in oral rinses to help clear up canquer sores and is often used to reduce the discomfort of teething infants.