Unfolding all about Saffron Spice

Where does it come from?

Saffron is believed to have originated in Greece. This plant no longer grows in the wild but is cultivated in many countries worldwide.

Crocus Sativus grows best in dry and moderate climates, so it can't be grown anywhere tropical or polar. 

Today, the world's leading saffron cultivators are in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. While there are smaller-scale saffron producers in the United States, most saffron is imported from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Spain, Greece, India, and Morocco.

Nutrients check

  • This novel spice is an excellent source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. 
  • Additionally, it is also rich in many vital vitamins, including vitamin-A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C that is essential for optimum health.
  • The active components in saffron have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines such as antiseptic, antidepressant, antioxidant, digestive, and anti-convulsant.

Culinary 

  • Saffron is a strong spice and can make your food very bitter if you use too much. 
  • It's also important to avoid putting raw saffron directly into your food because you'll end up with uneven flavors throughout the dish. 
  • The two best methods for using saffron are soaking or toasting it.
  • Before soaking saffron, you'll want to grind up your threads into a powder consistency with a mortar and pestle. Next, you'll need to steep the powdered saffron in a liquid, preferably one that you'll use in your recipe anyways. This liquid could be warm water, milk, stock, or even white wine. Soak for about half an hour and then add the soaked saffron and any required liquid to your recipe.
  • Some recipes may call for toasted saffron, in which case you'll put the full threads into a hot skillet over medium heat. You should only need to cook the saffron for about 2 minutes and be sure to stir it frequently to avoid it burning. Cool your saffron and grind it into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Depending on how it's used in your recipe, you can either soak it or add it directly to your dish.
  • Saffron can be a flavor ingredient in salad dressings and mayonnaise. It can also be added to your vegetable dishes. 
  • Popularly known as "Kesar" in the Indian subcontinent, it has been in use in the preparation of rice-pilaf, rice pudding, "halwa" and other sweet dishes in many Indian, Pakistani, and Central Asian countries. It is also used as a color and flavoring base in the preparation of kulfi, ice creams, cakes, and drinks.

Skin

  • Saffron Thread may help in making the skin radiant. It evens the skin tone and is a natural product that works well in clearing the face spots, thus giving glowing skin.
  • Studies have suggested that saffron can be used as a natural UV-absorbing agent. It contains flavonoid compounds like kaempferols and quercetin, which help in healing wounds and lightening scars.
  • Saffron has qualities that might help out and clear complexion and promotes healthy-looking skin.

Hair

  • Saffron oil is an age-old recipe to arrest hair.
  • It helps both scalp and hair. It reduces hair breakage and revives damaged hair while boosting hair regrowth.

Fragrance

  • Saffron's sweet aroma made it a prized perfume for many wealthy figures in history.
  • For example, Ancient Greeks and Romans took saffron baths and used spice as potpourri in important public places. 
  • Ancient Persians would even infuse saffron and sandalwood together to make soap after heavy labor.

Storage

  • The best kind of saffron that Naturevibe Botanicals sell is brilliantly crimson, with slightly lighter, shiny threads on the inside. Dull red saffron is older, and the longer it is kept, the less intense the aroma and flavor. 
  • Once harvested and dried, saffron is stored in airtight bottles, and, as is usual with spices, in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat.
Superior Saffron Thread

 
The Bottom Line

Superior Saffron Thread of Naturevibe Botanicals is an intense spice and should be used sparingly, just a few threads at a time. It needs to be soaked in a little warm water, milk, or white wine before being added to dishes. If added directly to dishes, it might clump together, and not release its complete aroma and flavor. An Iranian friend once told me that they crush the threads in a small mortar and pestle with a pinch of sugar, then dissolve them in warm milk, after which this mixture is added to the dish being cooked. If you’ve ever tried Saffron Thread, share your recipe with us in the ‘Submit your recipe’ section. We’d love to hear them.

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