Tag Archive: Saffron

The Saffron Atlantis Connection

AtlantisJust for the record: you won’t find me looking for space time portals in the Bermuda Triangle, or attempting to channel aliens on top of a Mayan pyramid.   I’m not a believer in UFO’s and ancient aliens; but I believe in Atlantis! I do believe it was a real place and that saffron-that wonderfully beautiful and flavorful spice- has its roots there.

As I mentioned in my Surprising Uses for Saffron article,  saffron is native to Greece and Southwest Asia.  In the ancient world it was used not only to flavor food, but also as a medicine.  Which brings us to the Saffron-Atlantis connection.  Why Atlantis?  Because a prominent and popular theory in archaeology today is that Atlantis may actually have existed and that it was located in the Aegean Sea, just south of Greece, not West of the Pillars of Hercules (Straits of Gibraltar), as the legend tells us.

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Chicken and Yellow Rice

006One of my favorite dishes of all time is the elegantly simple- chicken and yellow rice. The secret to the yellow rice is saffron, which gives it it’s distinct flavor and beautiful yellow color. It’s roots are Spanish, and it is of course, very popular in Latin American cuisine.

alhambra-967024_1280Yellow Rice dates back to the Moorish occupation of Spain in the early middle ages, they brought Saffron to Spain.  The Moors were a North African Muslim people, who sought to bring  Islam into Europe.  They ruled a territory that spread across Northern African and onto the Iberian Peninsula (Which holds the modern day countries of Spain and Portugal).  Moorish occupation of Spain lasted from the early 700’s until 1492.  The Moors heavily influenced Spanish culture, especially in the South.  However, they were never fully accepted by the native Spaniards, nor was their religion.  After years of struggle by the native populations, they were finally overthrown- the same year that Columbus arrived in Hispaniola.

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Surprising Uses for Saffron

SaffronSaffron is not just a spice that can used to flavor and  add rich color to food.  It also has a rich history of medicinal uses.  These days it is not particularly known for it medicinal properties, but in the ancient world it was highly prized for those qualities.

It is derived from a flower- the crocus sativus– or Saffron Crocus.  When purchased it is almost always found in dried, thin thread-like pieces.  These threads are actually the stigmas of the Saffron Crocus flower.  The flower is a lovely lavender color with the vibrant red stigmas in the center.  Because the threads are hand picked, and each flower only produces four, Saffron is the worlds most expensive spice.

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