According to the most commonly recommended figures – in India, where the total value is Rs 50 lakhs, the price is Rs 5 lakhs.
And you’ll need to eat 2 pounds of the flower a year if you intend to make a difference.
“When the plant grows to maturity, it starts producing oil and the flowers grow in clusters. If you eat one flower it gives more calories, if you eat 10 of them, you get more calories. It tastes great and it makes you fuller for sure,” says T. V. Mohanty, a teacher in the class.
He adds that they are a very tasty and nutritious food after all.
Bengali saffron is so popular here that it’s used in many dishes that are popular here – from chapatis and flat bread, to chutneys, chapattis, curry, paneer, roti and chicken korma.
“It is like a superfood. I know a lot of people have it in their kitchens,” says Mohanty.
The plant’s use as food is nothing new. In India, it was used to make curries and sauces for long before it became a healthy food. In fact, it has been a staple during many centuries.
It was used in chutneys, breads, pickles, curry powders, chapattis, dals, dips and in everything from ketchup to margaritas.
You could buy it in spice shops or you could go to roadside vendor houses, which sold curries of hundreds of varieties.
A recent report by The Lancet – citing several studies – mentions that saffron’s culinary potential has been overlooked
“Most of the studies have been conducted in countries outside India and the results have been equivocal or negative. In a review of the available data, researchers at McMaster University said that if you take any ingredient and look at it scientifically, saffron was ‘below the radar’ in most studies,” says Prof. David Kocken, the author of the report.
“However, there are positive findings – for example, saffron has anti-microbial properties – as is clear when you eat saffron leaves,” he says.
For this month’s column at Asia News, I decided to sample a few saffron recipes I had read about, and then cook some of them myself.
I cooked half a dozen of the most popular recipes and then
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