A fragrant and vibrant spice, saffron is hailed as the most expensive spice in the world. While its steep price will probably spook you from trying it out, don’t feel down just yet. Sure, it might not be something you’re familiar with in your pantry, but this is all the more reason why you should start now! This crimson gold spice is bursting with aroma, flavour, and health benefits. All you need is to learn how to draw out the full potential of saffron – and it’s relatively easy to do!
Saffron is a spice native to Iran where its flower, crocus sativus or normally called “saffron crocus”, is cultivated and harvested. The reason why this spice is pretty expensive is because of its labour-intensive harvesting method. Due to its delicate nature, saffron threads are harvested by hand during fall season every morning for a week. The threads are carefully separated by hand and dried. This also means that no pesticides are involved in cultivating saffron since it can affect the spice’s aroma and taste.
How to Use Saffron Powder
Saffron powder is actually pretty easy to use. However, what you have to watch out is the amount you use since a pinch of saffron – believe it or not – actually goes a long way. Saffron is very potent so professional cooks even use only a tiny bit for their dishes and beverages. It can be infused in cocktails and tea for a beautiful aroma and sophisticated taste. Saffron powder would make a great addition to dry rubs for pork and lamb as well. Saffron also gives that golden colour to your Middle Eastern rice dishes.
Health Benefits of Using Saffron Powder
As expensive as it is, saffron not only makes up for it with aroma and taste but also its range of health benefits. Here are some benefits that come with using premium saffron powder to name a few:
Contains powerful antioxidants
Saffron is rich in antioxidants such as crocin and crocetin that have antidepressant properties and can protect brain cells from damage. These compounds also protect your cells against free radicals that can harm your body.
Improves mood and treats depression
You may not know this but saffron is sometimes called the “sunshine spice”. Aside from its distinct and bright pigment, the reason it got this nickname is because of its antidepressant properties. Studies have found that saffron is effective in alleviating symptoms of depression.
Reduces appetite and helps in weight loss
Saffron has proven effective in curbing appetite and aids in weight loss. One of the main causes of unwanted weight gain is through constant snacking. Saffron helps by reducing your appetite which lessens your food intake and ultimately helps in weight loss.
Lessens symptoms of PMS
According to studies, saffron helps in alleviating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It was found that simply smelling saffron for 20 minutes helps in reducing symptoms like anxiety and lowers cortisol, the stress hormone.
Saffron powder is an excellent addition to your pantry. This spice is bursting with aroma, taste, and health benefits. Exploring the wonders of saffron powder will surely spice up your dishes.