Saffron is composed of the dried stigmas of a fall blooming crocus and has the distinction of being the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron must be hand picked, and requires over 5,000 stigmas to equal an ounce. Vanns is now importing a superb Kashmiri saffron. The color is deep red and the fragrance superior. It is important to buy the saffron threads, not ground saffron, which is easily and often adulterated. These threads should be broken up and infused in hot liquid giving even color and flavor to the recipe. Saffron is widely known as the necessary ingredient in paella, bouillabaisse, and rice dishes.