Jiloca Saffron

Spain

Aragon

Spices, wild herbs and condiments

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Jiloca Saffron

Saffron is one of the most expensive and least known spices in the world. Few people know where saffron comes from and how it is harvested, even though we can retrace its presence in ancient works such as the Song of Songs and the Illiad.
Saffron comes from the stigma of a small crocus flower, the Crocus sativus, which is very adaptable, easy to cultivate, and originated in the eastern Mediterranean, including Macedonia, the Peloponnese, and parts of Asia Minor. Thanks to its versatility it has become part of the gastronomic and cultural traditions of many countries, including Spain.
Brought to the Iberian Peninsula more than 1,000 years ago by North African Arabs, saffron became an indispensable component in various traditional dishes. Like many spices imported to Europe in the age of discovery, saffron became a spice for the rich. It was so common that the upper classes used it to protect their clothes from moths and as a perfume. Since those days, the production of saffron has not changed much; halfway through October the saffron fields become a deep violet purple color tinged with dark red, which comes from the flower’s precious stigma: these are the “días de manto”, and signal to the farmer that the heavy work of harvesting is ready to be carried out. This process is daily and takes place over two-three weeks. First the flowers are picked, and then they are all laid out on a flat work surface. This is followed by desbriznado, the most important phase of the operation, when the three stigmas of the plant are separated from the blossom. To do this, the farmers hold the flower in one hand and delicately detach the three stigma from the blossom with index finger and thumb, working slowly to ensure that the flower does not break.
The Jiloca comarca in the province of Teruel has always been known for its saffron, locally known as oro de los pobres, or ‘poor man’s gold.’ This area has the ideal climactic conditions for saffron cultivation; it varies from 700 to 900 meters in altitude and has long cold winters and brief, hot summers. In the past, Jiloca farmers always reserved a part of their land for saffron cultivation.
Everyone participated in the harvest and its taxing rituals of harvest and saffron thread cleaning with the help of hundreds of azafraneras, who arrived from bordering areas to assist in this labor-intensive work. The intense days of work concluded with a dance in the town plaza to celebrate the harvest.

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Currently, saffron produced in Spain is among the best in the world, and since Medieval times, this spice has been at risk of being replaced by low-quality imitations. This project is being developed in collaboration with the Museo del Azafrán (run by the Casa de la Cultura de Monreal del Campo). Above all, the possibility of promoting Jiloca saffron, a product very much at the risk of exctinction, is very promising. The Presidium aims for a broad audience but focuses mainly on Spanish consumers. The price today for this saffron seems too high to many consumers, but given that 180,000 flowers go into making a kilogram of saffron, the cost is justified.
The presidium will work to connect the communication about this product with guided ta- stings and comparative samplings of various types of saffron, including those made from lesser spices and added aromas. Organizing tastings of saffron is by far the most efficient means of explaining why this spice is so precious, as few other foods can convey such sensual pleasure.

Production area
Jiloca, Teruel province, Aragon region
The producers have joined the Asociación de Productores de Azafrán de Jiloca in Monreal del Campo (Teruel)

Asociación de Productores de Azafrán de Jiloca
www.azaji.com
Presidium Coordinators

José Ramón Plumed Lorente
Tel. +34 978 863 474 - 606 694 962
info@azafranesjiloca.com
www.azafranesjiloca.com

José Antonio Esteban Sanchez
tel. +34 978 622070 - 608392009
azafranlacarrasca@gmail.com
www.azafranlacarrasca.com
Currently, saffron produced in Spain is among the best in the world, and since Medieval times, this spice has been at risk of being replaced by low-quality imitations. This project is being developed in collaboration with the Museo del Azafrán (run by the Casa de la Cultura de Monreal del Campo). Above all, the possibility of promoting Jiloca saffron, a product very much at the risk of exctinction, is very promising. The Presidium aims for a broad audience but focuses mainly on Spanish consumers. The price today for this saffron seems too high to many consumers, but given that 180,000 flowers go into making a kilogram of saffron, the cost is justified.
The presidium will work to connect the communication about this product with guided ta- stings and comparative samplings of various types of saffron, including those made from lesser spices and added aromas. Organizing tastings of saffron is by far the most efficient means of explaining why this spice is so precious, as few other foods can convey such sensual pleasure.

Production area
Jiloca, Teruel province, Aragon region
The producers have joined the Asociación de Productores de Azafrán de Jiloca in Monreal del Campo (Teruel)

Asociación de Productores de Azafrán de Jiloca
www.azaji.com
Presidium Coordinators

José Ramón Plumed Lorente
Tel. +34 978 863 474 - 606 694 962
info@azafranesjiloca.com
www.azafranesjiloca.com

José Antonio Esteban Sanchez
tel. +34 978 622070 - 608392009
azafranlacarrasca@gmail.com
www.azafranlacarrasca.com

Territory

StateSpain
RegionAragon