Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food.

Saffron is a brightly-colored spice that’s high in health-promoting compounds, such as carotenoid antioxidants. Research findings suggest saffron has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and may improve heart health, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve sleep, and protect eye health.

Saffron has many traditional uses. It was used as a hair and clothes dye, a sign of wealth for the rich.  Cleopatra is depicted bathing in a saffron bath.  Saffron also has many medicinal benefits including anti-depressant and anti-cancer properties. It is also beneficial to the eyesight.  Its culinary uses are many in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Today saffron is grown in many parts of the world in countries as diverse as Iran, Afghanistan, India, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and of course England.