Saffron is the dried stigma of Crocus sativus, an autumn-flowering plant. More than 75,000 crocus blossoms are needed to produce a pound of saffron. It is very expensive but, fortunately, a little goes a long way. It adds a rich golden colour to rice dishes. Saffron is sold as the whole stigmas, wiry strands or threads in a deep vibrant, orange or red colour. It should have a strong, penetrating, clinging aroma, and an aromatic, warm rich flavour.
Saffron supplies the characteristic flavour and colour in Indian dessert sauces and milk puddings. Steep the stigmas in water for a few minutes before using them to extract as much as possible of their flavour.
Store wrapped in Cellophane in an airtight container away from sunlight for 2 months. Buy small quantities as it loses its flavour quickly