Saffron
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Saffron is a popular Spice produced from the flower of the Saffron Crocus, also known as Crocus Sativus

Availability

Saffron is available all year long.

Cultivation

The translation of the word Saffron means "yellow." Saffron is made from the hand-gathered Stamens of the small purple crocus plant. These "threads" are then dried. The crocus originally came from the Orient where the color was widely used to dye the silks used in clothing. It is very rarely foraged wild and has to be cultivated.

Production

Saffron is the world's most expensive spice but you need only a few threads to color and season a large dish.

For reasons of taste and flavor, Spanish Saffron was always considered superior, but quality Saffron is also being grown in places like India, Egypt, and to some extent, in Mexico.

Purchasing

Currently, you can expect to pay about $40 to $65 an ounce for high quality Saffron.

Storage

Store Saffron in an airtight conatiner and place in a cool dark nook or pantry. Saffron will last 1-2 years when stored properly.

Culinary Uses

Saffron has a pungent Honey taste and is used like another very popular herb - Tea. They are treated similarly to maximize their flavoring properties. They both must steeped by placing them in Boiling liquid to release their color and flavor. Add a Pinch of threads between your fingers over a small bowl containing 1/4 cup of hot water. Let the Saffron threads sit covered with hot water for 15 minutes to allow the flavor to bloom.  

Saffron is very often used to flavor Rice. In fact, the technical definition of Paella, the Spanish rice dish, requires the use of Saffron.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 t of Saffron per recipe.

Substitutes

Turmeric

Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value USDA
SAFFRON
Amount Per 100g
Calories 310
%Daily Value*
 
7%
Total Fat 5g
0%
Saturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
6%
Sodium 148mg
36%
Potassium 1724mg
21%
Total Carbohydrate 65g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 0g
Protein 11g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition

Studies published in March 2015 issue of The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine have shown that Saffron supplements are more effective than ibuprofen at "preventing muscle weakness and pain after a bout of strenuous exercise." Unexpectedly, Saffron was also show to increase muscle strength as well. The study did not look at women so the effects of Saffron across genders is not know.

Previous studies suggest that Saffron contains Carotenoids, which are beneficial compounds associated with the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Researchers think that the carotenoids, Crocin and Crocetin may have the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. 

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes