Saffron, spice and remedy

With a trained guide, walking through the market of Meknes, one quickly learns what the best quality saffron smells like and that the threads of Moroccan saffron are bright red and 1 – 2 cm long. Unlike spices such as turmeric, chili or paprika, which are piled up to form high cones and make for an impressive spice backdrop, the traders only have very small quantities of the precious saffron in stock. When the precious spice is weighed out, the weight of the packaging is meticulously calculated, because this can quickly be many times the desired amount of saffron.

Crocus Sativus

Saffron has been cultivated in Morocco for centuries. Beyond the High Atlas in the region around Taliouine is the small village of Souktana. There, at an altitude of about 1,100 meters, the most precious of all spices is cultivated. Only 400 families in the region live from saffron cultivation. Picking the delicate blossoms must be done quickly, so all family members help out during this short harvesting phase. The delicate saffron threads are obtained from the flower of Crocus Sativus. For one kilo of the sweet-tart smelling pistil threads, 150,000 crocus flowers are harvested. The crocus blooms only once a year and only for two weeks. The daily output of a picker is 80 g. The filaments are odorless when harvested. Only through the gentle drying process do they develop their unmistakable fragrance.

Saffron in the kitchen

Saffron tastes incomparable. It gives fish a wonderful aroma. Risotto becomes a delicacy with saffron. Saffron is also suitable for cakes and bread. It would be too bad to use saffron only as a coloring agent. Its active ingredients are water-soluble. So that taste and effect can fully develop, always add at the end of the preparation.

Saffron, effective and healing

Saffron has many positive effects on health and is currently one of the best known natural universal remedies. It has anti-diabetic effects and can inhibit macular degeneration. It is used in natural medicine for stomach and intestinal colic, cough cramps, rheumatic complaints, exhaustion and lack of concentration.

Other aspects: Saffron as a remedy / Effect and application / Cooking with saffron / Saffron from Switzerland / The saffron village of Mund in Valais / Saffron from Afghanistan / Dushanbe market hall / Saffron in the Middle Ages.

To this topic fits also: Cooking with saffron


Our works are inspired by human encounters and always culinary discoveries. What format do you need? A newsworthy report, an entertaining reportage, a short travel tip or a picture gallery? At Alamy, the international photo agency, you can view all of Georg Berg’s photos on saffron from Morocco, Valais and Tajikistan. Clicking on one of the images below will take you directly to the agency image.

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