The Cascia Saffron
Saffron has a unique aroma and spice heady, and although the story you tell us of its multiple uses, from the pharmacopoeia of fabric dyes, to savor its intense taste and feel his dreamy scent as a characteristic element of a mixed marriage of flavors. The taste of saffron s happily married with different foods as you can find below in the description of some recipes.
Considered across the world, the most precious spice in Umbria, saffron is grown only in some parts of which have been handed down news and testimonies until the beginning of 1600. Following the culture disappeared until, in June 1999, a group of farmers, fascinated by the history of this spice and helped by technicians and researchers have begun to plant the bulbs first.
The saffron of Cascia was recognized in the list of traditional food products in Umbria. Its production cycle is completely performed in compliance with very strict regulations, which guarantees the total quality and takes place in the following phases: the bulbs planting, picking flowers, sfioritura, roasting and paking.
Saffron is obtained by dried stigmas of violet flowers of a small plant, the Crocus sativus, belonging to the family of Iridacea, whose height does not exceed 12-15 centimeters. The bulbs of our zafferaneti are harvested every year in late July and after a careful selection are put immediately planted in early August. The amount of bulbs needed for an area of 500 square meters varies from 20,000 to 25,000.
The flowers are collected manually at the end of October only in the early hours of the morning, because the intense light could alter the organoleptic characteristics of the stigmas. On the same day the stigmas are separated from the flower and dried by roasting of the burning wood at a temperature not exceeding 40° C.
We use only the stigmas that have a bright red color: the value of spices is also given from the care with which they are separated from the flower leaving only the most valuable part of red color.
A bit of history
The saffron origin is still uncertain and it is assumed that the area of a first diffusion is that which extends from the middle east to the Hellenic peninsula. After cultivation developed in the whole area of the Mediterranean and northern India. To the east stretches especially in Persia and in the Kashmir region, while the spread westward was the Phoenicians who brought him in Italy. During the Middle Ages there was extensive use of this spice that was best known for the healing properties, but only a few could afford it to use due to the high cost. The literary man from Spoleto, Pierfrancesco Giustolo, lived at the court of the Borgias, in “De cruci cultu ” a poem written in Latin hexameters and published in Rome in 1510, tells us that they are not suitable for the cultivation of saffron.
Cottage cheese spiced with saffron
Ingredients: 400 g ricotta, a pinch of saffron threads, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons of marsala.
Mix together the ricotta with saffron combining sugar and some marsala spoon. Place in bowl and serve as dessert. The ricotta with saffron can be used to garnish desserts such as tarts, pies and cannoli.
Spelled and saffron Recipe
Ingredients for 4 people: Celery, carrot, onion, tomato, chili pepper (to taste), 2 potatoes, 2 ounces of spelled, meat broth, 12 stigmas of saffron, salt.
If you want a faster cooking spelt must be soaked for an hour. Leave to infuse the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons hot water. Fry odors, add the potatoes and cut the meat. Cook for 20 minutes. Saffron is added halfway through cooking.