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Saint Lucy's Day

"I'm just mad about Saffron,
Saffron's mad about me."

~ Mellow Yellow, Donovan Leitch, 1966

Saint Lucy's Day is a yuletide feast day, celebrated mainly in Scandinavia and Italy, and known for the beautiful Lassekatter (St. Lucy's Buns) or saffransbullar (saffron buns), golden-coloured buns which use saffron threads as both coloring and flavouring. Dervied from the crocus sativus flower, almost all saffron grows in a belt from Spain in the west to Kashmir in the east, and is the world's most expensive spice.

Dec 13

Saffron
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Saffron and Crocus Flowers
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Saint Lucy's Day, Saffron Bun Day, is a yuletide feast day celebrated mainly in Scandinavia and Italy, is known for the beautiful Lassekatter (St. Lucy's Buns) or saffransbullar (saffron buns), golden-coloured buns which use saffron threads as both coloring and flavouring.

Saffron's aroma is often described by connoisseurs as reminiscent of metallic honey with grassy or hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet.

Saffron comes from the dried stigmas of a variety of crocus (Crocus sativus) flower.  Iran is the world's biggest supplier, but other countries producing significant amounts of saffron include Spain, Italy, Greece, India and Morocco.

Saffron is nearly as expensive as gold. About 200,000 crocus flowers are required to produce 1 kg (2.2 lb) of saffron. Harvesting the stigma is tedious and can only be done by hand first thing in the morning before it gets too hot.

Saffron has a long history of use in traditional medicine, as a fabric dye, and in perfumery.

 

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, references the flower from which saffron is obtained, with the orange-golden threads of the stigma running through the varied purple hues. 

For more fascinating saffron facts, click the saffron!