Posted by: cochinblogger | April 1, 2010

Saffron, Then and Now



“To the left of the bathrooms, as promised, some early crocuses have bloomed, purple and gold, startlingly rich against the grays and browns. They seem to warm the air around them. Zeus and Hera kindled crocuses from the earth beneath them with the passion of their lovemaking. The cultivation of crocuses for fire-hued saffron dates back to the Bronze Age. The precious stamens, painstakingly picked and dried, were prized as dye, perfume, and as a remedy for melancholy. Cleopatra laced her bath with saffron as an aphrodisiac. Buddhist monks have dyed their robes with it for millennia. It takes up to 75,000 flowers to yield a pound of saffron threads, worth about $1,000 today; during the Middle Ages saffron was so valuable those caught adulterating it could be executed. When German Protestants brought crocuses to the New World in the 1730s, the saffron they produced was listed on the Philadelphia stock exchange at a price equal to gold.”


The BJP, the main opposition Indian political party, is part of what is known as the “Saffron Parivar,” or Saffron Family. The BJP is a right-wing political party that derives inspiration from the RSS, a staunchly pro-Hindu organization. Saffron is the color that Hindu ascetics don. It is unfortunate that a color with such a noble lineage has taken on a political color.

The excerpt above shows that saffron was held in high regard throughout the world, not just in India.

Posted from Diigo.



  1. If you like eating saffron, you will love this rigatoni with braised chicken and saffron cream. It is unbelievable.

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