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History and curiosities - Azafranes Manchegos

History and curiosities

Saffron has been used throughout history for it´s medicinal properties, colouring potencial and pleasant aroma.

Being often quoted in Greek and Roman literature , the importance of the role saffron has played in the refined life of classic antiquity due to it´s colour and aroma. It has been used frequently as dye. The clothes for celebrations were dyed with saffron and it was spread on the ground within the rooms in which banquets were celebrated and where the cushions were filled with saffron.

In Egypt in 1.000 to. C saffron could be used in embalmings or later occasionally for colouring shrouds in which the mummies were covered, yellow the females and red the males. Saffron was an important colouring in ancient Greece and Rome it was used to colour the clothes of a marrying couple. In another time it was used as a hair dye by the Romans.

The Greeks were considered it to be a sensual perfume. It was spread in the foyers, courts, Greek theatres and in Roman baths; the streets of Rome were sprayed with saffron when Neron entered the city.

The consumption of saffron was increasing constantly during the Middle Ages spreading across Christian Europe and up to Britain.

Saffron had an extraordinary importance in commercial concept. The trade of the saffron was charged to the merchants of the medieval cities, Which realized the transactions within the annual fairs of the different regions and in the urban markets.

Spain nowadays is the second most saffron producing country in the world, and has a protected designation of origin Saffron of La Mancha.


Traditional measures of weight still continue to be used:

  • 1 POUND = 460 g in Castilla de la Mancha and in Aragon there are 2 different pounds: 367 g and 355 g.
  • 1 SPANISH OUNCE = 28,75 g
  • 1 AMERICAN OUNCE = 28,35 g

"80 pounds of saffron roses give 16 ounces of toasted saffron"