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where saffron grows

The plant grows best in Greece, Spain and Italy thanks to dry summers and mild winters, though it does require irrigation. Crop yields are affected by everything from weather (rain before flowering is good, rain during flowering is bad), the depth at which the corms were planted and the amount of space between each one. Interestingly the plant can withstand short periods of snow cover and frosts down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the Northern Hemisphere planting begins in early summer, and all of the flowers bloom within one to two weeks in mid-autumn, so harvesting has to go fast. In Spain each acre of planted flowers will produce 8 to 12 pounds of finished product. It takes 70,000 flowers to produce a pound of saffron.

Aside from being expensive, saffron can be tricky to use. Its flavor is unique and can be overpowering when used improperly. Its flavor, when used correctly, is subtly spicy and has been described as tasting like the sea. Because its flavor is so intense, saffron is usually sold in small amounts.

Many recipes involving the spice call for no more than one to two threads, which should be soaked in white wine or steeped in hot water or broth for a minimum of two hours before being added to any dish.

ingredients magazine slc
where saffron grows