Saffron is one of the best ways I know to make the mundane turn marvelous. Even the word is evocative. In dishes, it adds a flair like only certain other foods like white truffles can do—for much less cost (and to me, much more satisfactory effect). Ignore all the writers who say saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It is, yes, but you use so little of it per dish that the fact is irrelevant. The small jar we're selling here will spice over a dozen dishes. That breaks down to about a buck per meal.
Our saffron comes to us from Rumi Spice, a certified B Corporation built by US Army veterans who served in Afghanistan and left their service with the goal to promote peace and prosperity in the region. While serving, they build relationships with farmers growing exceptional saffron. Unlike the most prevalent cash crops in Afghanistan which tend to move through middlemen, the team at Rumi works directly with their farmer partners. That means more money ends up in the farmers' hands, and greater transparency for those of us who eat it.
Each purple saffron flower is harvested early in the morning, as soon as it opens. Then the flowers are quickly brought to a facility where the three red stigmas are separated from the blossoms by hand. It takes 450,000 stigmas (or 150,000 blossoms) to make one kilogram of saffron!
In Afghanistan, saffron is used to flavor everything from savory rice dishes to sweet pastries and ice creams. But you don't have to save this saffron for Afghani cooking. Put a generous pinch of saffron in a simmering stock to make the base for a beautiful golden saffron risotto, perfectly marvelous paella, or fantastic fish soup. If you want to take an extra step to increase the flavor, toast the strands on a dry frying pan for a few seconds beforehand.
"As a chef, I have sampled many different saffron types, and Afghan saffron from Rumi Spice is some of the best that I have ever found. This saffron is of the highest quality with subtle nuanced flavors that are ideal for cooking Bouillabaisse and Tagines. This saffron is sustainably farmed and sourced directly so it is a product that is both delicious and good for farmers and the planet."
Eric Ripert, Chef & Co-owner, Le Bernardin