Saffron Knowledge – What you always wanted to know about saffron

What is Saffron?

Saffron comes from the carefully dried pistils of the crocus “Crocus sativus”, an evergreen plant, which reaches a height of up to 30 cm. Each flower has three female pistils and two male stamens. Each pistil looks the same; it is red or dark red at the tip and yellow on the lower part where they join the plant. Saffron has a bitter taste and a strong, sharp, penetrating smell.

The taste, aroma and color of Saffron are only contained in the red part of the pistil.

Harvesting threads from the crocus plants is very work intensive. We counted how many complete pistils of saffron we need to make up one gram; it was 570 pistils. Based on three pistils per flower, you need on average 190 flowers in order to obtain one gram of saffron.

Uses of Saffron

Saffron, is not only used for as a spice in cooking to add seducing aroma and luminescent gold yellow to your meals as “red gold”. Saffron can unfold many different healing effects when it is used corretly. Here is a list of a few possible uses of saffron:

  • stimulates all the sense
  • as aphrodisiac
  • refreshes the spirit
  • help to relieve menstruation problems
  • improves appetite and prevent stomach problems
  • prevents high blood pressure
  • improves circulation
  • reduces tooth and gum ache
  • strengthens the heart
  • smoothes the skin and promotes beauty.

Saffron is used in the production of medicines again Alzheimer’s, cancer and depression. Patients with heart problems or iron deficiency can profit from saffron.

How do I use saffron properly in the kitchen?

Soak 1 gram of saffron threads, optionally crushed in a mortar, in 100 ml of 60 °C warm milk, water or wine. Saffron is water, not fat soluble. The lactic or tartaric acid attacks the cells of the saffron threads and closes flavor and color strength on better. After about 20 minutes you will have a strong aromatic yellow solution. This then add to your food. Saffron should never cook for from the beginning, because when heated lose the flavors and then ultimately leaving only the impressive yellowing.

How much saffron do I need for a meal?

Use per food serving no more than 0.2 g saffron - which is about one teaspoon saffron threads coated. Is that flavor too strong, use correspondingly less saffron. The wonderful aroma of saffron is bound in essential oils and therefore highly volatile. Therefore, the art in the use of saffron in the kitchen is the one in the right dose and the other at the right time of the addition of saffron.

Saffron usage

Saffron has bee use as a spice and dye for hundreds of years. Saffron already unfurls its many medicinal properties when simply added to rice. Saffron is probably one of the oldest cures in man’s history. Saffron is used as a cure in many regions such as India, China and the Mediterranean up to this day. Saffron dissolved in water, for example, can be use against nausea without lowering blood pressure.

In Europe, saffron is mainly used as a spice. Saffron, however, is also used as an additive in the manufacture of tobacco products, spirits, dairy produce. The cosmetic industry uses saffron in making perfumes, creams and for coloring.

Cleopatra already used saffron in her bathing milk to give her skin a golden shimmer and to make perfume herself. Tibetan monks have been using saffron for a long time in their prayers and blessings. Scribes used saffron in manufacturing inks. This is known from old copies of the Koran and from Tibetan scrolls.

How to store your saffron

Crocin is the natural ingredients responsible for the color of saffron. Crocin is only present in the red part of the saffron thread. The crocin content is highest in fresh saffron threads. Once saffron has aged, crocin transforms into one of the other natural ingredients of saffron called safranal. Safranal gives saffron its aroma. This explains why, when saffron ages, it loses color but the aroma intensifies. This transformation process cannot be stopped no matter how the saffron is stored.

The aging or transformation process may be accelerated depending on the way the saffron is stored. If the storage conditions are warm, humid and light, the saffron ages the fastest. To slow down the aging process, saffron should be kept at a constant room temperature (20°C), dry (about 40% humidity), dark and enclosed. Saffron should never be kept in the fridge.

The Persians say, crocin is the blood of saffron. Once it has demised, the strength of color, smell and taste are also gone. Saffron can be kept just fine in a kitchen cupboard, but never buy more saffron than you can use in two years.

What saffron varieties are there?

Saffron is available in different qualities. For one thing, the saffron differs according to its origin. The main growing areas are Persia, here come more than 90% of annual global production, Kashmir (7%) and Spain (1%). The remaining 2% are grown in Morocco, Switzerland, France, Italy and Greece. Safran would grow but also in Central Europe, even in England small quantities are produced. On the other hand, saffron depend on the climatic conditions in the growing areas and the harvesting and drying processes different intensities in the fragrance, the content of essential oils, in the consistency of the threads and in color or Crocinwert on.

Are there different qualities of saffron?

Yes. Pushal, Sargol and Negin.

How do I recognize real saffron?

Saffron is known as a decorative element of many dishes and is considered one of the most expensive and most valuable spices at all. Also called red gold, it leads repeatedly fraudsters to fake saffron. So it is easy to offer the uninitiated nachgetönte flowers threads safflower or marigold as saffron. But other falsification methods, which even pose health risks are known. So meat fibers are dyed or sold textile fibers as saffron. Ground saffron be added to higher profits to achieve cheap turmeric or curry mixtures.

Therefore, we advise against the purchase of saffron Unskilled for example from a holiday. If you decide the temptation can not resist: it's best to purchase only whole saffron threads and are familiar with smell and taste. A simple test is to be here yet reveal:

With a bit of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), also referred to as a food additive E 500, you can quickly and easily test the authenticity of saffron. Moisten the tips of the thumb and forefinger, dip your fingertips in the soda ash and grate now something of offered saffron between your fingers. be coloring your fingers deep yellow is all right. You have most likely correct saffron in his hands. Individual strands of saffron, which are tested in this way should be easy to grind after about one minute on a clean, white sheet of paper. If your fingers are color other than yellow or even blue in the test, you are about to become a victim of an impostor. Our seven senses are but to replace no matter how sophisticated saffron test.