Saffron- The Queen of all Spices

Saffron- The Queen of all Spices

Saffron the red gold

Saffron "The queen of all spices" is a well-known spice that is used in different cuisines around the world. It is regularly being used in Iranian, Central Asian, Indian, Turkish and Moroccan cuisines. It is  added to soups, sauces, fish, rice dishes and also in pastries and cakes. Saffron derives its name from a Latin word meaning yellow and is used to flavour a number of dishes all around the globe. 

It is an extravagant spice and known to be the most expensive spice in the world. This spice comes from the stigmas of the flower Crocus Sativus. Only 3 stigmas are produced per plant and they have to be harvested within two weeks of appearing Thus, To make a half kilogram of saffron spice, it takes about 75,000 - 100000 floral blooms/stigmas (2000 stigmas for 1 gram saffron sometimes). These are then hand picked, dried in newspapers using labour intensive methods and are stored in an airtight container out of the light when dried.These Floral blooms/stigmas are believed to cure many illnesses and also had the capability of making strong dye. Due to this reason, Saffron is expensive!

During medieval times, Europeans used saffron to treat respiratory infections like asthma, smallpox and common colds. Ancient Egyptians used it as a tonic to battle dysentery. In Past saffron was prescribed for treating a number of diseases, sleep problems and treating depression. There is also evidence that Alexander the Great used saffron for various sauces with rice dishes during his conquest of Asia campaign and also used saffron in baths, to treat battle wounds. In modern days, saffron is used as an anticarcinogenic, or cancer-suppressing, agent.


Saffron easyhotelmanagement

Pure saffron contains only the stigma of the Crocus flower with nothing else added. Today, the usual methods of counterfeiting/adulterating saffron is by mixing it with beet, pomegranate fibers, and red-colored silk threads. Other options are immersing the saffron threads into honey or oil to make them gain more weight.True saffron is expensive and has a deep orange to brownish red color. The coloring capabilities of saffron come from the red portion of the saffron threads and not the yellow portions that are left uncut in lower grade saffron. However, Pure saffron strands are composed of red and yellow portions of the stigma rather than the entirely red portions of the stigma because saffron strands composed of red and yellow portions of the stigma shows that it is not dyed.

The fragrance in saffron is due to the presence of certain chemicals namely picrocrocin and safranal. Saffron loses its fragrance over time. So, red saffron that is ten years old is not good saffron. Quality saffron is saffron that is completely red and has a nice aroma. The best quality saffron comes from the current crop year that has a sweet, floral taste.

Today, more than 80% of the saffron comes from Iran and Spain, while Morocco and Kashmir also cultivate and export the spice.The quality of saffron may be tested by adding a few strands to warm water. Saffron initially imparts a pale yellow colour to water, ultimately turning it into a rich and vibrant red. However, if the water instantly turns a strong yellow color, chances are that the saffron strands have been dyed with artificial color.


Europeans are believed to be the first to use saffron as a spice in their cooking. But, Be warned that too much of saffron will render bitterness to the dish & Taking large amounts of saffron by mouth is possibly unsafe. High doses of 5 grams or more can cause poisoning while Doses of 12-20 grams can cause death. A small pinch adds brilliant color, aroma, and flavor against bland grains!

Saffron is rich in potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium and is abundant with antioxidants that destroy free radicals. It helps protect the brain from damage, keeps heart healthy. Several studies have shown that saffron extract can help protect the cells in the brain from inflammatory damage and improve brain's health. Also, It helps to reduce stress and anxiety attacks and relieves body pain. Thus, acting as a natural painkiller. Moreover, It can help treat and prevent depression.


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