This spice is the bright orange stigma of the purple-coloured saffron crocus. It has a pungent, grassy flavour and adds a rich deep-orange colour to stews, curries and rice dishes. It takes between 70,000 and 80,000 of the flowers to produce 450g (1lb) of saffron, which has to be handpicked to avoid damage, making it the most expensive of all the spices. Saffron is very strong and can overpower a dish, so a little goes a long way. When kept in a cool, dry, dark place, your saffron will last more than a year.