This yellow spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the saffron crocus. These flowers bloom in autumn unlike our more popular harbingers of spring here in the US.
The dried stigmas are used to make the spice.
Saffron one of the most expensive spices in the world. It can take 75,000 blossoms to produce a single pound. Each flower is hand picked and the stigma, (pollen laden thread) is removed.
This pungent spice is used by many cultures and nations including Iran, India and Spain. A little of this spice goes a long way. This spice has a unique quality to taste sweet to some and bitter to others.
Rice is one of the most popular dishes for using this spice.
Here are a few recipes for Saffron Rice:
It is also used as a dye, in medicine and perfumes.