As most of those who know me, know that I really enjoy cooking and trying different exotic as well as good old fashioned recipes. My kitchen has spices and herbs from various parts of the world and they get used up often. One spice that I’ve always been reluctant to purchase is saffron because there is so much fraud with this spice. Because it is so expensive due to how it is produced and manually harvested, saffron has always been highly valued because of its special, unique, and health giving characteristics. High quality saffron can really make a side of rice sparkle, or added to some desserts, shine.
The big problem is that its very hard to guarantee what you are buying truly is saffron from the Crocus Sativus flower. Over the centuries, the practice of bulking up saffron that is to be sold or traded with other look a-likes has been a tremendous problem. Even today, you do not always get pure saffron and if you buy it in powder form, the risk that it has been mixed with something fake is even greater.
Who wants to spend 15.00+ on a gram of a spice that you don’t know for sure truly is saffron? There is so much fraud that often, people don’t even realize what a true saffron tastes like because they’ve never had the pure spice and instead of have purchased 100% adulterated stuff.
I can recall a few years ago, when I received a call from my vegetable delivery person (I get fresh Ontario vegetables delivered do to me when I’m in Ontario each week) asking if I was interested in Ontario saffron. When he told me the price – a couple of dollars for an ounce, I was obviously very suspicious. But, he claimed that some Mennonites grew it and so it was very inexpensive. I had heard that there was some saffron operations trying to start up in Canada, and so, while being very positive this was fake stuff, I agreed to purchase it and see what it was. It was only a couple of dollars, so why not?
Well, when he delivered it, I was able to immediately show him that what he had been told was genuine saffron was actually filaments from safflower. The filaments of the crocus and the petals of safflower flowers do have a similar appearance, but if you know what you are looking at, you can pretty much tell right away. Safflower is not even related to the Crocus plant that produces saffron!
Saffron From Greece – Krokus Kozanis
I finally found a saffron product I can always trust to be pure and unadulterated. Last year, when visiting Greece, I came across the Krokus Kozanis brand of saffron and learned more about it. For years, high-quality saffron has been produced in the Kozani region of northern Greece. It’s of very high quality and indeed, I learned that top Italian chefs prefer the Greece grown saffron to that from Spain, Iran and other producers.
But, like all saffron producers, the Greeks had a problem in that what was being sold as saffron often was adulterated and not pure. In 1971, in order to stop fake products labeled as saffron from the region, a co-operative was formed named the “Cooperative of Saffron Producers of Kozani.” What this means for buyers of saffron, they can have full trust that any saffron purchased with the label of Krokus Kozanis is truly genuine, pure, and unadulterated. All saffron is 100% inspected – thus giving Greek saffron an extremely high trust ranking throughout the world among discriminating chefs and gourmet cooks.
Saffron In The Home Kitchen
Many home cooks are very reluctant to shell out big bucks for saffron (even though a tiny bit goes a long way – in practice, the cost per use is low) in case they are not getting the genuine product. And how would they know if they have never even had dishes with true saffron before?
Well, I wanted to help solve this problem for Canadian & Americans and along with our Greek oregano, thyme, Greek Mountain tea and true Mediterranean bay leaves, our little import business has been bring the 100% pure Krokus Kozanis to Canada. Our price is very competitive and right now, for a very limited time, we’ve slashed the price to give people a chance to try it knowing they will be getting the real and pure taste of saffron.
Right now, it’s only $9.99 a gram – for Americans, that’s about $7.50US! It’s really a steal – and this price is available for a very short time. Try it for yourself: Krokus Kozanis Greek Red Saffron Filaments.
Learn more about how Italy discovered saffron from Greece and why it is now favoured, here.