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Saffron PDF Print E-mail

Saffron was very common among ancient peoples. This spice has a unique and inebriating aroma and it also had various meanings. It symbolized unhappy love, in memory of the legend of young Crocus, who was in love with a nymph named Smilax and evoked opposing symbols.

It was used in various ways: to colour clothes, to prepare ointments and perfumes and to dye the linen wrappings of Egyptian mummies.

The use of saffron in cooking, dates back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, when it was beginning to be used to colour and flavour foods. In fact, it gives a particularly intense flavour and aroma to food, as well as its characteristic yellow ochre colour.

There is evidence that saffron was produced in Umbria in the 8th century and Castel della Pieve (Città della Pieve) was considered the area of its most significant production at that time, whereas historical sources mention the Valnerina area from the 15th century. In the 16th century, Cascia became prevalent as one of the most active centres of trade in this spice, which was used mainly for dyeing purposes and then for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. In the 17th century cultivation of this spice was gradually abandoned and renewed interest its cultivation has only been recorded in recent years. In particular, in the last few years, a group of farmers has reintroduced saffron into the Valnerina area and in a few municipalities of the Apennine ridge, between Gualdo Tadino and Spoleto, thereby triggering the creation of new consortia of producers.


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