Saffron – a unique flavoring for many dishes
Even though saffron is one of the most expansive spices in the world, it is also used in many dishes. There are many interesting things to learn about saffron. Have you ever wondered why it is so expensive? Have you ever wondered how to use saffron in your homemade meals? Here is some of that information.
The high price of saffron is justified by the process of growing and obtaining it. Saffron spice is made from the flowers of the plant. To be more exact, it takes something between 70 to 250 thousand flowers to make a single ounce of saffron. Not only that, but the flowers need to be handpicked during a short window in fall, when they have the most flavor. You can see how this painstaking process is quite costly.
The good news is that you don’t really need a lot of saffron to add flavor to your meals. A pinch of saffron will be enough to spice up a soup made for 4 to 6 people. Also, you should know that the saffron flavor in the dish will be even stronger the next day. A small bottle of saffron can last for quite a long time if it is stored properly. The proper way to store saffron is to keep it away from direct light and moisture. You also need to take care that the container is completely clean and odorless. Otherwise the saffron will take in the flavor and smell of the container. And that would be a waste of perfectly good spice. The container needs to be sealable because the saffron will lose much of its flavor in contact with air.
Saffron is sold in two forms: natural and powder. It doesn’t make much difference when you are cooking. However, powder saffron could be cut with a cheaper spice with the same color. In its natural form, it is easy to verify if the saffron is genuine. There should be brown-red threads which are slightly orange at the top. That way you can be sure you are getting top quality saffron spice. There are a couple of variations of saffron referencing to quality. The redder the threads are the better quality of the spice. In your meals, it is the red thread that will be giving that distinct flavor. The rest of it is pretty much waste. The best saffron is the Spanish saffron called mancha.
If you have bought saffron in its natural form, then you will need to know how to get the most flavors out of it. One thing you could do is to first break down the threads into pieces, and then grind them. Then you can add the fine spice to your meals. Another successful way to do this is to place the threads in water of broth and leave them for some time to release the flavors into it. Then, the water is simply added in the desired dish. It would be best to heat up the water and let it stay for a couple of hours. But, if you have a recipe, it is best to follow its suggestions.