On the slopes of Etna saffron is also grown, included in the Boniviri spice rose
When it comes to saffron, you have to seize the moment!
The saffron harvest lasts only 20 days and is done at dawn, before the stigmas open so that the aroma is preserved, in the period between the end of October and the beginning of November . In order not to damage the pistils, in fact, the operations must be carried out strictly by hand by specialized collectors, who detach the three stigmas one by one.
It is calculated, in fact, that more than 160,000 flowers are needed to produce 1 kg of saffron, equal to about 68 kg.
In addition to making the most diverse dishes tasty and tasty, saffron powder is a mine of precious substances for the body: being saffron one of the most powerful antioxidants, it fights free radicals, responsible for accelerating cellular aging. In addition, this spice promotes digestive functions, stimulates the digestive system.
Saffron is obtained from the “ Crocus sativus ” plant.
The name Crocus derives from the Greek Kroke, which means " filament ", due to the filamentous stigmas that it carries in the center of the corolla.
It is a small herbaceous plant from 15 to 40 centimeters high. It is grown in very loose soils, burying the bulbs at a depth of 5-8 centimeters and equally distant from each other. The part of the saffron that interests us is the flower, in particular the stigmas. Each flower has an average of 3 stigmas which appear as orange-red filaments. The red of the stigmas, in contact with liquids, produces an intensely yellow color that has made the traditional Milanese risotto and any dish treated with saffron unmistakable.
The stigmas of saffron contain over 150 volatile aromatic substances, components of its essential oil.
This is made up of 4 main chemicals that give it its specific organoleptic qualities: crocin and crocetin that give it its characteristic color, picrocrocin that gives it the bittering power and safranal that gives it the unmistakable aroma.
In addition, the latter is an organic compound capable of positively influencing brain activity. For this reason it is used in herbal medicine in the treatment of mood disorders.