affron is the harvested stigma of the autumn crocus flower, also known as the saffron crocus. Each flower produces only three stigma at a time, meaning it takes between 50,000 and 75,000 flowers to produce just 1 pound of saffron spice. To put it another way, that pinch of saffron you’re throwing in your paella? Those twenty-ish stigma have come from seven different flowers.
The difference between real and fake saffron could be sometimes less obvious. Fake saffron which is often coloured with red food colouring or other foreign substances will either lack flavour entirely or have a bitter metallic taste. On the other hand, real saffron will have a strong floral scent and the will have a floral and earthy taste, the kind of flavour you’re looking for saffron to impart.