Saffron: A Delicate Flavor Promotes Peace in Afghanistan

Threads of saffron weave a fabric of culture, history, and food. Saffron is a recurring character in Middle Eastern cuisine, and makes many cameos in both French and Spanish kitchens. This luxurious spice comes from the crocus flower; the thin crimson thread that serves as a pollen receptacle. Saffron threads are hand-picked, one reason why this spice is the most expensive in the world. Most saffron is grown in the Mediterranean. Until now our supply has come exclusively from Spain. We are now proud to introduce Afghan Saffron from Rumi Spice.

Saffron crocuses turn Afghanistan’s desert landscape into a sea of purple.

Founded by U.S. military veterans who served in Afghanistan, Rumi Spice promotes peace through the cultivation of saffron. The two most profitable crops for Afghan farmers are cannabis and opium poppies. Farmers cannot profit from typical crops like grains and vegetables. Saffron is a contender and Afghanistan has an ideal climate for it. Rumi Spice’s philosophy is that increasing demand for Afghan saffron will help rural economic development. Rumi employs approximately 1,900 women in Herat, Afghanistan.

You can learn more about Rumi Spice’s in this video:


 

At first look, Rumi Saffron color is richer and redder than other varieties. Beyond bold appearances, Rumi Saffron emits the flavors and aromas of honey, hay, pollen, and even metal. As menus go, saffron is most famous for its use in paella, risotto Milanese, bouillabaisse, and variations of the rice dish called biryani.

 

 

In addition to Rumi Saffron, we are delighted to welcome Rumi Gems to our website and stores. Each Rumi Gem is flavored with a single thread of saffron, which delivers a unique flavor not found in your average gummy treat. For any meal that includes a saffron storyline, the Gems are a great preview or endnote.

 

 


To use saffron, you can steep it just like tea. Take a few threads and bloom them in a couple tablespoons of hot water. The color will release immediately, a sign of high quality saffron. Once you’ve brewed the golden liquid, try mixing it with plain yogurt or add it to a cup of chamomile tea. Both options are mild mediums for you to enjoy the nuanced flavor of saffron.

Inspired by Rumi’s story, we prepared a dish to celebrate this wonderful Afghan Saffron.

Afghan-Inspired Saffron Rice

Saffron rice with a suggested side of grilled zucchini, seasoned with Aleppo Pepper and Sumac.

This is a wholesome rice dish that maintains an exquisite level of delicacy. It is an excellent side for neutral grilled meats, like chicken or fish. The sweetness of the golden raisins pairs well with saffron’s floral flavor. The onions and cumin add richness and body to the rice. For a more subtle flavor, you can substitute the cumin and cardamom for coriander. (Our featured image suggests using black cardamom, but green is more commonly used. Black and green cardamom have much different flavors, so choose whichever you like most.)


 

Serves 4-5 people
Prep time is roughly 30 minutes.

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3 comments

    I’m thrilled that you are carrying Rumi saffron. I switched to buying from them several years ago, both for myself and for gifts. Their candies are yummy. Now I won’t have to order saffron separately

    As someone with Spanish genes, I look forward to tasting this product from Afghanistan. I am glad our military had something to do with this new and healthy source of revenue for this beautiful but war-ravaged country. It should bring prosperity and hope to the people. I read somewhere that before the wars, Russian (1978-1992) and American (2001-present) Afghanistan had the largest variety of apples in the world (now reduced to a few,) and that cranes (the bird) used to be prolific. If saffron crops can supplant poppies, all the better for kitchens in the world. If successful, may saffron become the symbol of peace.

    I’ve never cooked with saffron due to its high cost but I find this to be irresistible. I should have ordered the candy too it seems! 😊

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