Natura e Gusto

Saffron

Ovid, in his epic-mythologicalpoem "Le Metamorfosi", tells about a young boy named Crocus: on the bank of a river, he met a nymph named Smilace. The nymph was really beautiful and Crocus fell in love with her. Zeus, hearing of their love, became jealous and turned Crocus into a magic flower. The stigmas of this flower, of purplish red color, could flavor the food of many people all together, to color the water of a large swimming pool, to cure the headache, to help the mothers during childbirth and could even serve to color paintings and clothes. It was a beautiful flower, noble and highly sought after.
To date, historians confirm that this flower was also cultivated by the Arabs, who called it Zafaran (which means "deep yellow", because yellow was the color that stigmas gave in tincture and spice), in Asia and even by ancient Romans who lived in the areas of Cascia (at the time Sabino territory). The conquest by the Lombards, however, also led to the destruction of all the fields, including those cultivated with Saffron. The Arabs cultivated the Saffron for hundreds of years until they marketed it in Spain during the Medieval Time. Spanish traders imported Saffron to the L'Aquila area (city in Abruzzo region), where it was cultivated for several centuries. Some historical data, in some manuscripts in the library of Cascia, encouraged local farmers to cultivate again the Saffron in this area, exactly with the bulbs received by the traditional Aquila cultivation.

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