(ps_sahana on Flickr)
The purple flowers of the Crocus Cartwrightianus, each containing three threads of precious saffron. (Photo: ps_sahana/Flickr.)

The international sanctions against importing some of the most coveted Iranian goods are officially no more, which means we now have access to the nation’s perfectly legal saffron — some of the finest in the world. Iran, with an unusually favorable growing climate, produces up to 90 percent of all saffron produced around the globe, so gear up to cook some of our golden-yellow favorites:

This news won’t help protect you from imposter saffron — corn silk or husk is frequently dyed, cut and packaged to resemble the crimson-red threads known as “stigmas,” so be sure you’re able to see and smell your product up close before you shell out the big bucks ($350 an ounce for the very best of the best). The lifting of the sanctions may intensify this problem, now that “Iranian saffron” is no longer synonymous with “illegal and likely fake.” Phony, dubious-quality or illegal saffron from one country marketed as originating from another is sadly a Big Thing, as you can plainly see.