Saffron: Pure Indulgence
By Ushi Patel
I first tried Saffron milk, at an aunt’s house in Navsari, Gujarat, India. I remember thinking it was the most special, decadent drink I’d ever tasted – craving more as soon as we left. Throughout my travels, my affections for saffron continued to grow, savoring it in Spanish Paellas, Persian Ice Cream, aromatic Biryani’s, Risotto, teas and even cocktails.
Today, Saffron is a staple in my pantry, because it keeps its flavor for over two years when properly stored (in a cool, dark place). It’s color naturally adds vibrancy to food, and it brings out the subtlety of other spices or flavors in your recipes. Yes, it is costly, for good reasons, as the article The Surprisingly Beautiful Origin Of Saffron, by By Julie R. Thomson succinctly describes:
“It takes 4,500 flowers to make just one ounce of saffron because there are only three strands of saffron in each flower. Each and every saffron thread has to be hand picked.”
Fortunately, only a few strands are needed for each recipe and most likely, because of its price and mystery, any recipe flavored with saffron will be a welcomed and memorable addition when entertaining.
It can be a little intimidating to find good saffron and it’s easy to throw your money away on fraudulent products. Here’s a helpful guide, by Max Falkowitz, Spice Hunting: What’s The Deal With Saffron?:
“Never buy ground saffron. Far too often it’s cut with turmeric, paprika, and the aforementioned bark. Even if it’s from a spice merchant you trust, saffron powder loses its flavor faster than whole threads. If you have the option to buy a small sample of saffron threads, drop them in some warm water in a small bowl. In a minute or two the water should be a bright, clean yellow, and the threads should retain their shape. If the water is murky or the threads fray, it’s a sign of adulteration.”
We love getting our saffron from this producer Redsaff Saffron.
Redsaff Afghan Saffron is an award winning producer with an average color reading of 250 according to the ISO 3632 quality standard. We love it’s aroma, taste and color and it’s available on Amazon so you don’t have to aimlessly wander specialty grocery store aisles to get it. If you love to cook, have some fun experimenting with Saffron, and please share your results here!