I had no idea that saffron would be one of the takeaways (literally and figuratively) from my trip to Iran. According to Iranian legend, overconsumption can lead to death from laughter. There is no danger of that here in the States, where saffron is so expensive, many stores keep it under lock and key, if they carry it at all.
In fact, saffron is more valuable than gold by weight. Saffron comes from the stigma of the autumn crocus, and it takes 72,000 flowers to produce one pound. Fortunately, only a few threads are necessary to impart the distinctive flavor so valued worldwide. At the bazaar in Isfahan, an ounce cost about $28, which made it the perfect souvenir – lightweight, portable and hard to find at home!
In Iran, we indulged in all manner of saffron-redolent dishes: ice cream, rice pudding, creme caramel, rock candy and bread; to say nothing of the rice that accompanied every meal. One of my favorite blogs – Persian Mama – has a great recipe for Sholeh Zard – Persian Rice Pudding. Let me know how you like it!