crocus sativus love


from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. Old World crocus having purple or white flowers with aromatic pungent orange stigmas used in flavoring food


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  • "Saffron is an exception to the definition of spices as imported aromatic products, since it grew locally but was nevertheless viewed as exotic and was breathtakingly expensive. The dried stigmata of a variety of crocus (crocus sativus), saffron probably originated in the Middle East (Iran and Kashmir) are the leading growers of saffron now). In the Middle Ages saffron grew throughout the Mediterranean world and was particularly associated with Tuscany, where there were major markets in Pisa and San Gimignano. At the end of the period, the eastern part of Spain started to gain the reputation it continues to hold as the source of the best-quality saffron. Unlike almost all other medieval spices, the saffron crocus was easily adapted to different soils and climates. As the English place name Saffron Walden attests, even northern Europe could produce a crop. ... Saffron was used as it is now in flavoring various dishes, but also as incense, as a coloring agent, and, probably most importantly, for its medicinal applications."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 10.

    See also saffron.

    October 9, 2017