Pure saffron of Cascia, it’s in the list of the traditional products of Umbria.
It’s a totally natural product and it is exclusively drawn by the dried pistils of the violet flowers of the crocus sativus, a small plant, whose height doesn't overcome the 12-15 cm., it’s belonging to the family of the iridacee.
The bulbs of the saffron are picked up manually every year at the end of July and after a careful selection they are put again to abode at the beginning of August. The necessary quantity of bulbs for a surface of 500 mq it’s around 400 kg. The flowers are manually picked up between October and November and only in the first hours of the morning when the flower is still closed, since the direct light of the sun could alter the characteristics of the pistils. In the same day the pistils are separated by the flower and dried through roasting on fire (temperature 40 C).
They use only the part of the pistils that has an alive red color: the value of the spice is also given by the care with which the pistils are separated by the flower leaving the most precious part of red color.
We need 200 flowers to get a gram of saffron in pistils.
For the gastronomic employment we can use 4/5 pistils for portion.
Rice with saffron’s pistils for 4 people:
Take 16 pistils, soak them with lukewarm vegetable stock; after half an hour add fried mixture of onions and oil (olio extra vergine di oliva dop umbria), 400 gr of rice, consommé. Cook for 15/20 min., add butter and Parmesan cheese.