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Saffron May 8, 2010

Filed under: Food and drink — cnesgreen @ 7:11 pm

 

 

 

Saffron is the most precious and most expensive spice in the world. The Saffron filaments, or threads, are actually the dried stigmas of the saffron flower,

"Crocus Sativus Linneaus". Each flower contains only three stigmas. These threads must be picked from each flower by hand, and more than 75,000 of these flowers are needed to produce just one pound of Saffron filaments, making it the world? But, because of saffron’s strong coloring power and intense flavor, it can be used sparingly. Saffron is used both for its bright orange-yellow color and for its strong, intense flavor and aroma.

crocus Sativus Linneaus contains crocin, the source of its strong coloring property, bitter-crocin, which offers the distinctive aroma and taste and essential oils which are responsible for its therapeutic properties. Saffron is available both in filaments and powder, though the long, deep red filaments are usually preferable to the powder as the latter can be easily adulterated.

 

Today, the greatest saffron producing countries are Greece, Spain, Turkey, Iran, India, and Morocco.

 

 

 

Saffron is marked by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these result from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. A carotenoid dye, crocin, allows saffron to impart a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Saffron has further medicinal applications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea sometimes referred to as an infusion or "steeping" saffron. This is exactly the same principle you use in making any tea – the longer the saffron steeps, the stronger its flavor, aroma and color.

Where saffron preparation differs from tea is that you can release saffron effectively in hot liquid such as water, broth or milk or in room temperature white wine, vodka, rosewater, orange blossom water, white vinegar or citrus juice.

In other words, saffron’s chemicals respond positively to hot liquid or room temperature alcohol and acids (citrus).

The amount of liquid is not important; use whatever is called for in your recipe or adds just a teaspoon or two of hot water to a recipe, which will not harm it.

Then put the threads or powdered saffron in the liquid and leave it for a minimum of 20 minutes before you add this "tea" to the recipe. Do not remove the saffron threads from the liquid.

They continue to release aroma, flavor and color for up to 24 hours which is why affronted dishes and breads always taste even stronger as leftovers. With more flavor, aroma and color release than you would otherwise have, steeping saffron is the most economical way to use this spice.

Once you get comfortable cooking and baking with saffron, you will find the longer you steep your saffron, the less you will need per recipe.

A special note about toasting saffron: do not do it!

It is unnecessary to dry saffron any further because it has already been processed to exactly the right dryness for either steeping or crushing into powder.

The only reason you might read elsewhere that saffron threads should be further dried prior to use is that lower grade saffron may contain too much moisture for good release of its aroma, color and flavor.

 

 

 

Saffron tea (1 glass)

 

A pinch of saffron, 1 tablespoon sugar (less if you like), 1 cup simmering water

Place the saffron and the sugar in to a coffee mug or tea cup and pour the hot water over the ingredients. Steep for 5 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Sometimes the easiest things are the most enjoyable, and this certainly rings true with this recipe. So sit back, reserve a few minutes for yourself and enjoy a nice cup of Saffon tea.

 

 

 

 

Once a bag of herbals or flowers is opened, The herbals could be kept in ambient and dry conditions such as in the living room, the study or the office, but it must be completely away from light, moisture, smell and heat.

 

An airtight container or a vacuum tank is an ideal storage solution.

 

 

Sealed Clips are also a good choice for opened packaging bags.

 

 

 

The quality of the herbals lasts longer if they are kept in the fridge. But please make sure the package is sealed and cover with a box to insulate from temperature change.

 

In addition, if the bag is taken in and out from the fridge very often, this will cause heat stress to the herbals as temperature is increased and decreased very frequently. Air will be drawn from outside and condensation will occur.

 

 

That is why we packed our herbals into small sealed packaging bags instead of large bags or boxes. You could open a small bag of the herbal and enjoy its freshness while the other bags are sealed and well kept in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many alternative medicine health care providers feel that using certain herbal teas during pregnancy is a great way to support optimal pregnancy health. Herbal teas can often provide an additional source of nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.

 

However, due to the lack of studies on most herbs, the FDA encourages caution when consuming herbal teas during pregnancy.

 

It is always best to talk with a qualified medical professional about any herbal teas that you are interested in drinking.

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