Greek red saffron or 'Krokos Kozanis', is considered to be one of the best saffron's in the world. The stigmata is extracted by hand from the freshly harvested flowers and then laid out to dry. Once dried they are irregular, deep orange threads. It takes about 50,000 stigmata of Crocus Sativus Linneaus to make 100g of red saffron.
The history of red saffron in modern Greece starts in the 17th century when red saffron was cultivated in the area of Kozani in Macedonia. For more than 300 years, Greek red saffron is systematically cultivated under the warmth of the Greek sun, in the rich soil of a unique area including many small towns of Kozani in West Macedonia.
As a therapeutical plant, saffron it is considered an excellent stomach ailment and an antispasmodic, helps digestion and increases appetite. It is also relieves renal colic, reduces stomach-aches and relieves tension. It is also a fact that even since antiquity, crocus was attributed to have aphrodisiac properties. Many writers along with Greek mythology sources associate crocus with fertility. Crocus in general is an excellent stimulant.
As a spice it is used for colouring and flavour improving while giving a distinct aroma and a beautiful golden colour. There is a great list of foods where saffron is added including cheese products such as cottage cheese and parmesan, soups, various spirits, pasta and rice. To use saffron, either infuse a few threads in a cup of hot water and add the coloured liquid towards the end of cooking, or crumble the threads and add directly to the pot. Alternatively, dry roast, crumble and then steep the crumbled threads. Unlike other spices, a good pinch will suffice to add flavour and colour most dishes. Cook with red Greek saffron and indulge in its excellent flavour.