Saffron has been used in cooking for thousands of years and is known for its beautiful color; deep yellow-orange, with striking crimson-red overtones. Saffron can be used as a flavor enhancer to bring out rich, aromatic notes in many dishes.
You can use saffron in both savory and sweet dishes, whether you want to add a subtle flavor or a punch of brightness. However, you cook with it, though maybe in rice pilaf, or perhaps atop a citrusy chicken dish — always be sure not to cook it for too long. Its distinct aroma is delicate and easily lost when exposed to heat and light for extended periods of time.
What can you cook with saffron?
Saffron is an exotic spice that lends bright yellow color and a distinct flavor to dishes. Saffron is used in Spanish, Italian, Indian, and French cuisine. Saffron can be used to make rice, as a substitute for saffron water (a ground saffron mixture steeped in boiling water) to add flavor to foods, or as part of meat marinades. You can also sprinkle it over vegetables or add a pinch of saffron to creamy sauces such as risotto.
What does saffron taste and flavor similar to?
tart and warm, stinging, honey-like, sweet-bitter taste
Saffron is known for its tart and warm, stinging, honey-like, sweet-bitter taste. The flavor is somewhat complex, with hints of honey and astringency. It also has an intense aroma that can be floral, sweet, and spicy at the same time.
Why is saffron so expensive?
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, and it’s easy to understand why. The labor-intensive process of harvesting saffron is what makes it so expensive.
The saffron crocus flowers blossom twice a year, and each flower produces only three stigmas, the tiny threadlike parts that give the spice its flavor and aroma. Each stigma must be picked by hand. It takes about 75,000 flowers to yield just 1 kilogram of saffron.
Does saffron need to be soaked before cooking?
Saffron does not need to be soaked before cooking, but it can be. When you buy saffron, it will come in its dried form and be quite hard and brittle. To prepare your saffron for cooking, simply place a few strands of it into a small bowl of warm water and let them sit there for about 15 minutes. This will soften them up so they’re easier to cook with later on.
Saffron does not need to be soaked before cooking
- Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”
- Persian Saffron rice pudding