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   Introduction
   A Pleasure for the Senses
   How to Use Molineta de
     Minaya Saffron

   Medicinal Plant
   A Living Tradition
   A Green Long-lasting Plant

Saffron is considered to be the king of the spices. It is obtained from the saffron flower, and more precisely from the three red stigmas. These stigmas have to be hand-picked and toasted almost immediately, a process which is unique and characteristic of La Mancha area. This peculiarity, together with soil and weather conditions allows saffron from La Mancha to be considered the best in the world. From the very heart of La Mancha, Molineta de Minaya presents genuine saffron, full of culinary and medicinal properties for all food lovers, as well as authentic Crocus Sativus bulbs for keen gardeners who wish to brighten up their garden or terrace with this wonderful plant.

A Pleasure for the Senses
The guaranteeing body of origin from the Mancha recommends that saffron should be packed in threads, never ground in order to ensure that it has not been mixed with other poorer quality saffron. This way it is possible to preserve its rich aroma (enchancing the ingredients of any dish), flavour (adding a slightly bitter touch) and colour (converting a paella into a festival of colour). Molineta de Minaya saffron has ten times more colouring power than any other additive.

How to Use Molineta de Minaya Saffron
To fully enjoy the qualities of this product it is recommended to grind a few threads in a mortar, and then dilute them in stock. Ideally the saffron should be added just before the dish is fully cooked. Saffron is famous for its use in rice dishes, however it can also be used in meat, fish and egg dishes, as well as desserts, diluting the ground threads in milk. Saffron can also be used in hot drinks or teas by adding a touch of saffron before serving. Saffron should always be used in small quantities, and should be stored in an airtight container, protected from sunlight and fluorescent light.

Medicinal Plant
The ancient Egyptians considered it to possess healing properties. Nowadays both Spanish and American universities have investigated these numerous properties. It calms toothache, period pains, cures sleeping disorders, reduces cholesterol, helps digestion and even contains elements which prevent cancer.

A Living Tradition
Minaya is a small village situated in the heart of La Mancha, to the north of Albacete. Until recently most of its inhabitants took an active part in growing and preparing saffron. Planting seeds in spring, and observing the change in landscape from September to November as the saffron flowers bloomed and the penetrating aroma filled ever corner of their houses. Both adults and children took part in saffron harvesting, and the days when the flowers were in full bloom they had to call on neighbouring villages to lend a hand, to ensure that all the flowers were picked at the right moment thus preserving the final quality of the saffron. The saffron flower is very delicate and has to be picked at the early hours of dawn. Later the three red stigmas are extracted from the flower. Despite technological advances, no system has been invented to mechanise this process, they are still hand-picked. Finally the red stigmas are toasted at different temperatures, a very complicated process which is passed on from generation to generation. Nearly two hundred thousand flowers are needed to produce one kilogram of saffron. Saffron flowers require at least one thousand square kilometres of farming land, thus it is not surprising that at certain times saffron reached the same price as gold, and was named “red gold”. Since the 9th century when Arabs introduced saffron into the Iberian Peninsular the process of harvesting and preparation has been perfected until reaching the utmost quality which we can enjoy today. There have been various literary references to saffron in La Mancha since 1720. However the importance which saffron has on many peoples lives can still be shown today through customs. Saffron is given to newlyweds to wish them prosperity.

A Green Long-lasting Plant
The saffron plant is not as well known as the species which produces stigmas. Its scientific name is Crocus Sativus. The flower is beautiful, although it only blooms for three or four days. Its leaves grow very quickly and stay green throughout winter and most of spring. The bulbs which are sold by Molineta de Minaya from June to September can be easily grown in plant pots. Three classes of bulbs are sold according to the size of the bulb and the number of flowers. These bulbs should be stored in a dry, airy place, protected from sunlight before planting. The flowers normally bloom between the 15th October and the 15th November.

 

 
   
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