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Saffron, named after the Arab word zafaran, meaning “yellow,” was mentioned in classical writings as far back as 1500 b.c. Journey on a distant path back to the days of ancient Greece and Rome, when a man named Crocus was fated to unrequited love for a beautiful nymph, and was then turned into the beautiful purple flower we still know of today as the Crocus. A staple in Asia Minor, where it is from, it takes about 4700 crocus flowers to produce one ounce of Saffron powder, which makes the price of the spice quite high.
While saffron powder has the reputation of being the world’s most expensive spice, it only takes a tiny little pinch to sufficiently flavor sauces and rice, so it is still affordable. Try the intricate flavors and pungent aromas of saffron powder or orange saffron on mashed potatoes, made with olive oil, orange juice, salt, nutmeg, saffron threads, and sweet potatoes.